Cryogenic power systems based on the R&D in this SBIR would find use in at least three other major markets. The most immediate and obvious customers will be the military and defense industries. The Navy's all-electric ship program would benefit most from this work, especially if superconducting motors and generators, which provide a cryogenic platform, are deployed. The next-largest package to be reduced in a ship is the power control electronics. Combining these technologies can provide a significant reduction in size and weight at greatly improved efficiency. A second market is the industrial power/utility market. Projects involving superconducting power transmission and distribution, including superconducting wind turbine generators, are perfect candidates for helping to commercialize this technology. The third market is the medical industry, in particular Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI. The technology developed in this SBIR will enhance current MRI power supplies for gradients, pulsed fields, and RF transmission.
Apart from superconducting turboelectric drive systems, cryogenic power conversion, or CryoPower, is a natural fit for a great many NASA applications. These include lunar and Mars missions as well as interplanetary and deep-space missions. In short, this technology is useful wherever small size, low weight, and high efficiency are required. In addition, space applications are perhaps the only ones where the natural environment is often cryogenic. The temperature in orbit of Saturn and Titan is around 90 K, and those reached on Uranus, Neptune, Triton, or Pluto are all between 38 and 60 K. The black-body equilibrium temperature in interstellar space is less than 40 K. Currently, space missions often require heaters to bring the temperature of electronics to about 300 K. Many of MTECH's systems and components not only perform their best in such environments, but are also capable of withstanding much wider temperature ranges.