ONR Advanced Dual-Mode Generator Project

In May of 2014 CEM conducted the kick-off meeting for an Advanced Dual-Mode Generator project funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR).  The program focuses on a flywheel energy storage technology that can output multi-megawatt pulses of a few seconds in duration or can operate bi-directionally with an average power of a few hundred kilowatts to accomplish a range of functions frequently provided by single mode flywheel energy storage systems.  CEM also develops dual mode generators that output gigawatt pulses for a few milliseconds that can be configured to operate bi-directionally with an average power of several hundred kilowatts or higher.  Guidelines for CEM’s research can be found in the following document published by NAVSEA:

Naval Power Systems Technology Development Roadmap


The Roadmap describes and highlights the need for multifunctional power and energy capabilities and presents the new concept of an “Energy Magazine” to support a range of advanced weapons and sensors.
CEM’s new program focus will be on advancing a dual-mode generator studied previously under the DARPA-Army Combat Hybrid Power System (CHPS) project.  During the CHPS project, CEM researchers developed and validated designs for a highly compact dual-mode generator for Army hybrid electric combat vehicles.  The Army program featured and “inside-out” design with the rotating components outboard of the stator, shown below.  The machines outer diameter was only 24 inches and mass was 670 kg.

j field video

This latest CEM project sponsored by ONR will also feature an inside-out design that will have the following design goals:

  • • Machine and all subsystems fit through 26 inch hatch.

    • Flywheel topology with the smallest mass and volume.

  • • Very flexible mission support – including power quality and load leveling during scenarios that do not require pulse loads.

  • • Can operate at lower power levels to extract 18-20 MJ or more per machine – potential for ride-through during power outages to allow chemical stores to come online.

  • • Design can be scaled down or up.

  • • Designed for very long cycle life – when part of a holistic shipboard energy storage approach can minimize cycling of shorter-lived chemical energy storage components.

  • • Significant advancement in state-of-the-art that can benefit other Navy applications.

  • • Exploits the Army CHPS composite rotor technology and recent advances in composite materials to enable operation at high tip speeds – a key enabler for very high power density generators.  Tip speed is the term used to indicate the tangential velocity at a given radius for a rotating machine component

  • • Exploits the Army CHPS permanent magnet (PM) cartridge technology to allow survival of brittle permanent magnets under high gyroscopic loads at high tip speeds – another key enabler for very high power density generators.

  • • Exploits the Army CHPS inside-out magnetic bearing technology to allow high rotor rotational speeds, even for large rotors, avoiding limitations arising from conventional bearing DN ratings – a third key enabler for very high power density generators. 

  • • Potentially can exploit CEM composite arbor technology developed under NASA funding, Army pulse power funding, and Federal Railroad Administration funding.

  • • Employs advanced flywheel safety approaches developed by a CEM-led consortium in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

If successful CEM dual mode generator program will represent a significant advancement in the state-of-the-art for high power, high power density, energy storage systems to address Naval needs.

Additonial Info: Dr. Joe Beno

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