California, USA. - February 2004- Calnetix has just been awarded a contract for Phase I for a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) from NASA. Calnetix will work on the Hubless Flywheel with Null-E Magnetic Bearings together with NASA’s Glenn Research Center located in Cleveland, Ohio. Calnetix is one of several small high tech firms selected for one of the STTR contracts totaling approximately $26 million.
The goals of the NASA SBIR program are to stimulate technological innovation, increase the use of small businesses, to meet federal research and development needs, and increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from federally funded research. The goals of the NASA STTR program are similar to the SBIR program with the distinction the STTR program requires a collaborative research effort between a small business and a research institution.
The project awarded to Calnetix is for development of a high energy density flywheel energy storage system for future NASA space missions. The STTR study includes electromagnetic design and analysis of Null-E bearings as well as research of composite material technologies suitable for the proposed design. The design combines advantages of high-strength composite materials being developed at the University of Texas at Austin-Center for Electromechanics (UT-CEM) and unique magnetic suspension technologies being developed at Calnetix. Kinetic energy is stored in a high-speed rotor supported by so called Null-E magnetic bearings. The rotor features a hubless design to maximize the energy to weight ratio since most of the flywheel energy is stored in its outer circumference while the core just increases system weight.
Null-E magnetic bearings are well suited for the hubless topology, delivering the desired combination of high load capacity, stiffness and low rotational losses required by this application. They also simplify integration over conventional active magnetic bearings. As Null-E magnetic bearings can be designed to operate as entirely passive systems with no electronics or external power supplies, they also offer advantages over conventional mechanical ball bearings by providing higher reliability and longer operating life.
About Calnetix, Inc.
Calnetix, a privately held high tech company based in California, USA, is the industry leader in high speed motors, generators, magnetic bearings, and integrated magnetic drive systems. The company’s products are utilized in distributed power generation, power conditioning, gas processing, semiconductor manufacturing, automotive, medical equipment and other industries worldwide. Additionally, Calnetix provides a unique cost effective solution for Power Quality and UPS applications through its subsidiary Vycon, which manufactures energy storage flywheel based UPS systems.
About University of Texas at Austin-Center for Electromechanics (UT-CEM)
More than 100 funded research and development projects have been undertaken successfully by UT-CEM since its inception. They have played key roles in the U.S. Army tactical electromagnetic accelerator program as well as the DARPA electric vehicle program. UT-CEM is currently working with other government sponsors including the Army Research Lab, NASA, the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Current and former industrial sponsors and team members include Calnetix, SAIC, Lockheed Martin, TRW, and General Atomics.
About NASA Glenn Research Center
Since 1941 NASA Glenn Research Center has been a pioneer and innovator who has expanded horizons and opened frontiers for explorers in air and space. The center is responsible for developing and transferring critical technologies that address national priorities in aeropropulsion and space applications. Their work is focused on research for new aeropropulsion technologies, aerospace power, microgravity science, electric propulsion, and communication technologies for aeronautics, space, and aerospace applications. To learn more about NASA Glenn Research Center visit http://www.grc.nasa.gov. . Any questions regarding this press release or the SBIR, STTR program please contact Sallie Keith at NASA Glenn in Cleveland at 216-433-5795.