The Office of Naval Research is sponsoring work by the Electric Ship Research and Development Consortium (ESRDC) in pursuit of a long-term vision to develop a revolutionary new “electric ship” power-generation architecture for shipboard systems that will be capable of powering all future weapons and sensors, as well as propulsion and all ship services.
Sharon Beermann-Curtin, program officer for ONR’s Sea Warfare and Weapons Department, said that an important first step is successful demonstration of a prototype solid-state power-conversion module (PCM) that incorporates semiconductors fabricated from silicon carbide. This material is capable of operating at higher voltages, frequencies, and temperatures than silicon, now widely used for semiconductors.
The prototype is being evaluated at the Center for Advanced Power Systems at Florida State University, one of eight ESRDC members (the others are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Texas, the University of South Carolina, Mississippi State University, Purdue University, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the Naval Postgraduate School).