The ambition of the SpeedDrive project is to develop a high-speed drive that far exceeds what was thought possible with the current state of the technology.
The project considers high-speed / high-power engines to be any engine producing more than 200 kW at more than 35,000 revolutions per minute. It intends to develop a modular converter that is capable of working with engines or generators at 500 kW and 35,000 rpm.
High-speed systems of this type use variable frequency drives exclusively, which provide power at the exactly required frequency and amplitude. Since that frequency is proportional to the speed, the converter has to provide power at comparatively high frequencies. A bipolar engine with a speed of 60,000 rpm would for instance, require a frequency of 1000 Hz, but conventional converters are optimized for a fundamental frequency of 50 Hz – as the revolutions are ramped up, their efficiency drops. By using wide-bandgap semiconductors (SiC) in combination with more traditional semiconductors and a multilevel topology, it is possible to design converters with approx. 99% efficiency even at 1 kHz output frequency.
High-speed machines are frequently used in applications that require uncompromising levels of reliability and availability. With this in mind, the project will develop a special diagnostic and monitoring system that tracks and analyses operating data in the converter in real time.
The project intends to bring the technology to full maturity and have it ready for practical application in e.g. gas-to-power (for gearless gas turbine drives) and air or climate conditioning compressors (gearless compressor drives). A platform strategy is expected to allow quick access to new performance and speed categories. The final converter will be suitable for use in conventional drives as well and will be marketed separately from the
EEO Drives Generator/Engine.