LaunchPoint granted patent for hybrid power system in electric flight


LaunchPoint Electric Propulsion Solutions, Inc. (LaunchPoint), a pioneer in advanced aerospace electric power generation and propulsion technologies, announced the grant of U.S. Patent 11,738,875 B2 “Lightweight, High-Efficiency, Energy-Dense, Hybrid Power System for Reliable Electric Flight.”

This patent is a significant milestone in LaunchPoint’s greater mission to revolutionize electric flight and propel the aerospace industry into a new era of efficiency and reliability.

At its core, the patent describes an innovative system engineered to deliver power-dense, efficient, and reliable power for electric aircraft, supporting onboard applications as well as driving rotors and propellers for lift and thrust.

This technology has significant applications for drones and electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles, enabling efficient transportation of cargo and passengers. 

Electric propulsion holds immense promise for aircraft due to electric motors’ superior power-to-weight ratio compared to piston or turbine engines, enabling placement in aerodynamically favorable positions on aircraft.

However, the limitation of electric aircraft propulsion comes from the need for electric energy storage in the form of batteries which are heavy and bulky. Typically, battery powered aircraft can only fly relatively short distances.

For extended-duration flights, the battery electric propulsion concept proves unsuitable, and it has become universally known that the overall best solution is a hybrid-electric propulsion system.

The patented LaunchPoint Hybrid Power System (HPS) extends flight time coveted by most aircraft missions and allows increased payload for long duration missions.

The system combines an internal combustion engine with LaunchPoint’s dual Halbach array generator and a small battery pack to power a distributed electric drive system. It includes vital cutting-edge energy and power management software tailored for various aircraft missions.

In short, the LaunchPoint HPS elevates system-specific power while reducing energy storage mass. Moreover, the system excels in regulating variable voltage sources such as permanent magnet generators while functioning as a microgrid power manager, optimizing energy resources for reliable and fault-tolerant flight.  

Multiple systems can be used in parallel on the same DC Bus to achieve redundancy and availability goals.

Mike Ricci, chief technology officer at LaunchPoint, said: “The LaunchPoint HPS took over a decade to evolve to meet the rigorous demands of advanced air mobility (AAM) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).  Our innovative hybrid technology addresses these demands by utilizing energy-dense liquid fuel, outperforming traditional battery only powered systems. This pioneering approach extends the range and efficiency of electric aircraft, overcoming the inherent limitations of battery-only solutions.

“The LaunchPoint Hybrid Power System represents an excellent solution for our customers seeking generator-driven power solutions or those looking to leverage LaunchPoint’s generators and controllers to develop their power generation solutions. It is a testament to our commitment to innovation and addressing the challenges of electric flight.”

  
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