American Superconductor Corporation and its partner, Northrop Grumman (NOC)
announced the completion of factory acceptance testing for the world's first 36.5 megawatt (49,000 horsepower) high temperature superconductor (HTS) ship propulsion motor at Northrop Grumman's facility at the Philadelphia Naval Business Center
. 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 U.S. Navy's 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 Navy's new Zumwalt class of destroyers, known as DDG 1000. 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.
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.