March 28, 2007
Milestone for 36.5 MW ship propulsion motor
American Superconductor Corporation (NASDAQ: AMSC) and its strategic partner, Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) today reported the successful completion of factory acceptance testing for the world's first 36.5 megawatt (49,000 horsepower) high temperature superconductor (HTS) ship propulsion motor.
This is the final milestone before the Navy takes possession of the motor.
The motor was designed, developed and manufactured under a contract from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to demonstrate the efficacy of HTS primary- propulsion-motor technology for future Navy all-electric ships and submarines.
The power and torque of this HTS motor is comparable to the requirements for the new Zumwalt (DDG 1000) class of destroyers. In comparison with the conventional copper motors being used on the first two DDG 1000 hulls, the HTS motor is less than one-half the size and weight, and is more efficient over a much wider range of ship speeds.
This results in weight and space advantages, enabling an increase in payload capacity for both naval and commercial vessels.
"This is a truly historic day for the marine industry as we usher in a new era of propulsion technology that enables a revolution in ship design," said Greg Yurek, founder and chief executive officer of AMSC. "The much smaller size, substantial reduction in weight and higher fuel efficiency of these machines is dramatic. These features enable new hull forms, lighter and more efficient designs of propulsion pods, higher speeds, less fuel consumption, and more space for cargo, passengers and munitions. In addition, HTS propulsion motors are far quieter than conventional machines. These are all highly desirable advantages for ship owners and operators --both military and civilian."
AMSC designed the motor, manufactured the HTS wires and built the electromagnetic rotor coils, as well as the cryogenic and control systems for this ship propulsion motor. It subcontracted the manufacture and assembly of all other components of the machine to companies such as Ranor, Inc. in Massachusetts and Electric Machinery Company in Minneapolis.
Northrop Grumman's Marine Systems business unit performed overall systems engineering, analysis and assessment to meet key military ship requirements; designed and built the motor frame; and completed the final assembly of the motor system at the Philadelphia Naval Business Center.
AMSC and Northrop Grumman jointly conducted the factory acceptance testing of the fully assembled motor system.
"We are delighted with our team's clear success in demonstrating the world's first 36.5 megawatt HTS propulsion motor," said David Perry, vice president of Northrop Grumman's Sunnyvale, California-based Marine Systems business unit.
Yurek added, "We will now deliver this state-of-the-art motor to the U.S. Navy so they can complete planned full-load testing. The successful completion of the factory acceptance testing of the 36.5 MW HTS motor means that we can now finalize a separate contract we received from Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) for a militarized version of the HTS propulsion motor and compete for contracts for the procurement of HTS ship propulsion motors and generators for the DDG 1000 and CG(X) surface combatant ships. We believe our success in this program will lead to widespread adoption of HTS motors among large-scale naval and commercial vessels."