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Goleta, CA, United States

Patent
LaunchPoint Technologies, Inc. | Date: 2014-12-01

An electromagnetic valve apparatus with nonlinear springs for variable valve timing in an internal combustion engine. The apparatus includes a valve, floating spring assembly, translational cam, and motor. The cam and spring serve to minimize lash and valve stem bending forces. During opening and closing of the valve, spring potential energy is converted into valve kinetic energy and then back into potential energy at the end of the motion. The potential energy is then available for the next opening/closing event. The motor initiates motion, replaces friction and vibration losses, and terminates motion. However, the motor supplies minimal energy as the valve opens and closes, and vice-versa, naturally due to combined effects of system inertia and the nonlinear spring. In addition to valve control, the apparatus may be applied to fuel injectors, or any reciprocating linear or rotary mechanism where electronic control is used.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 599.46K | Year: 2011

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project is dedicated to
development and testing of Magnetic Valve System (MVS) enabling implementation of
electronically controlled variable timing on camless internal combustion engines. MVS is an
advanced actuator for intake and exhaust poppet valves utilized in internal combustion engines
for control of flows of fresh charge and exhaust gases. LaunchPoint Technologies, Inc. will
design and build the MVS actuator and demonstrate its operation on an experimental internal
combustion engine. The advantages of MVS technology originate from the nature of the magnetic
spring actuator that provides efficient control of the valve position and speed during valve
opening and closing events. LaunchPoint?s cost-effective and robust technology will enable
implementation of highly anticipated electronically controlled variable valve timing on a mass
production engine.
The broader impacts of this research are a combination of significant improvements
in fuel efficiency, reduction of emissions, and improved power characteristics of conventional
spark ignition and compression ignition engines. When a reliable, electronically controlled
system is delivered, the economic and social impact of this technology will be broad. The MVS
actuator can potentially be used in millions of internal combustion engines employed in
automobiles, trucks, bulldozers, and stationary generators. It will enable implementation of
emerging advanced combustion technologies such as Homogeneous Charge Compression
Ignition and Compressed Air Hybrid. Widespread adoption of MVS actuators would result in
substantial decrease of petroleum usage, adverse effects on the environment such as air pollution
and greenhouse gas production, and improve energy independence.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 499.94K | Year: 2015

LaunchPoint Technologies proposes to build and test a laboratory demonstration of a helicopter electric tail rotor drive for a Bell 206 helicopter. The drive system will consist of a generator attached to the gearbox output for the rail rotor drive shaft and a dual halbach array permanent magnet motor to directly drive the tail rotor propeller. Purpose built power electronics will convert the AC power from the generator to a DC bus and then convert back to variable frequency AC for the tail rotor motor.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 729.84K | Year: 2011

LaunchPoint Technologies has developed an optimized brushless electric motor with higher power density than any commercially available motor. Once fully developed, this motor will make smaller and lighter electric propulsion available for use in advanced programs such as electric and hybrid Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), Small Organic Precision Munitions (SOPM) and electric-propelled GMLRS and TOW missiles. The private sector has also expressed interest in this technology for use in electric bikes, motorcycles, and cars; as well as for private aviation and personal air vehicles. The motor is a coreless axial flux design, and utilizes optimized Halbach magnet arrays combined with a patented winding fabrication process to achieve superior performance. The Phase I effort and related follow-on work resulted in a laboratory prototype with a power output of 5 HP/lb at 8400 RPM, twice the power density of the best known competitor. The proposed Phase II effort will create a 60 HP, 12,000 RPM motor with a power output of 8 HP/lb that is suitable for operation in military environments. This effort will take the technology from TRL4/ 5 to TRL 6, readying the technology for full-time product development and commercialization activities.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 149.60K | Year: 2013

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will prove the feasibility of a high reliability motor drive optimized for lightweight propulsion systems for electric aircraft. The NASA green flight challenge proved the viability of electric flight with a 400 passenger mile per gallon pure electric flight last year, but products specific to this market are not yet available. Presently available motor drives limit the reliability of electric propulsion system to unacceptably low levels. These drives are designed for ground vehicles and have reliability significantly less than general aviation planes. These drives also require heavy load inductors to interface with the highest power density electric motors. The novel drive architecture proposed will provide high reliability and operate directly with low inductance motors in the 10 kW to >250 kW range. Rigorous reliability analysis techniques from the commercial aviation industry will be applied to system models to optimize the architecture for reliability and power density. The design will be validated in hardware by fabricating and testing a single phase of the drive. This drive coupled with an advanced motor will form an electric aircraft propulsion system with the highest power density available and a reliability level consistent with aviation usage.


The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is to address a developing market for propulsion systems that will enable non-polluting and reliable electric aviation in the small aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) sectors. UAV use is expanding rapidly. Many domestic applications of UAVs such as law enforcement or surveying could be served by electric UAVs. Congress has mandated that the FAA integrate UAVs into the airspace, but present UAVs do not have reliability levels consistent with use in the civilian airspace. General aviation is looking to electric flight as a way to reduce operating costs and greenhouse emissions in an age of ever increasing fuel prices and concern for the environment. The FAA is updating regulations to create a class of Electric Light Sport Aircraft (eLSA), but no commercially available motor drives meet general aviation reliability levels. This project will combine rigorous commercial aviation high reliability electronics design techniques with power electronics designs from heavy industry motor drives to create an electric aviation motor drive that is lightweight, fault tolerant, and highly reliable. The proposed drive will have reliability levels consistent with operation of electric aircraft in the civilian airspace while still retaining exceptional power density.

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