U.S. Navy awards FSU center $35 million research grant. Grant is largest ever for FSU’s Center for Advanced Power Systems.
Florida State University’s Center for Advanced Power Systems has been awarded a $35-million grant by the U.S. Navy – its largest grant ever – to broaden its research in creating an all-electric ship.
The grant, spread over five years, is the latest coup for the Innovation Park-based research center. In April, the U.S. Navy named the center, known as CAPS, its first university test site to perform high-powered simulations in its testing for an all-electric ship.
Researchers at the FSU center will lead a team of scientists working on energy and machinery requirements associated with an all-electric ship, according to FSU. Those scientists and engineers represent the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mississippi State University, Purdue University, University of South Carolina, The University of Texas at Austin and Virginia Tech.
“Federal funding has become increasingly competitive over the past few years as the pot of funds has shrunk dramatically,” said FSU’s Vice President for Research Gary Ostrander. “To receive such a huge level of funding from the Office of Naval Research is a great tribute to the researchers at CAPS and speaks to the quality of work they perform for the Navy.”
CAPS is directed by Roger McGinnis, a retired U.S. Navy captain, who has held senior executive positions with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology and at the Office of Naval Research.
At the Office of Naval Research, McGinnis directed several major research projects, including the production of high energy lasers, high-power microwaves, electromagnetic rail guns, and an autonomous helicopter program that will be part of future Navy ships and aircraft.
“This is the largest grant ever received by CAPS, and to me, it reflects the respect the Navy has for the previous research and testing CAPS researchers have accomplished over the past 15 years,” said CAPS Director Roger McGinnis.
While electric ships already exist, most of them are powered by gas turbines, FSU said. The Tallahassee center has been tapped to play a major role in building a ship on which one power source would be controlling all computer systems, energy storage, sensors and propulsion capability.
CAPS was founded by FSU in 2000.
The Navy gave CAPS this accreditation because of a process the local facility pioneered called power hardware in the loop in which researchers can simulate real-time environmental and electrical conditions with minimal risk or damage to equipment while retaining a high level of flexibility, the university said.
For instance, a new power converter could be taken through a power surge or overload scenario to see how it responds in a highly controlled lab environment.
“We want the Navy to understand the risks or benefits if they take one path versus another when they are choosing different types of technologies,” said Michael “Mischa” Steurer, research faculty and leader of the Power Systems Research Group at CAPS. “Our simulations allow us to see the full picture of these new technological options.”
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