Research database

SUPERDRIVE - Superconductive Synchronous Machine Drives for High-Power Applications

24 months (2023 - 2025)
Principal investigator(s):
Project type:
PNRR – Mission 4
Funding body:
Project identification number:
PoliTo role:


High rated-power machine drive applications for either off-shore wind generations or propulsion systems require high-efficiency and high compactness to deal with limited space availability and smart utilization of the energy source. Further, fault tolerance is often required to increase reliability. Prompted by these challenging requirements, researchers are seeking new technological solutions for high-power electric drives. In such an effort, machine designs without rare-earth based permanent magnets call for the use of novel excitation systems, such as a direct current (DC) fed superconductive winding, and multi-phase (M/PH) machine drive arrangements are pursued to achieve the required fault tolerance. The scope of the SUPERDRIVE project is developing scientific knowledge and viable solutions for permanent magnet free electrical drive systems for high-power applications. As shown in Figure A.1, the project will focus on synchronous machine with DC-fed superconductive excitation winding and novel power electronic converter with multi-level (M/L) topology to be used in high-power applications with capability to operate even in electrical faults conditions. In the proposed drive, the superconductive field winding is fed by a modular M/L Dual Active Bridge (DAB) converter to deal with the extremely low total harmonic distortion (THD) required for the DC supply of the machine superconductive winding. The project will be carried out by means of the close cooperation of two expert research groups: Roma Tre University (URM3) and Politecnico di Torino (POLITO). The POLITO research group will investigate synchronous machine arrangements having superconductive field winding (supermachine) to the goals of avoiding the use of rare-earth permanent magnets, increasing the capability of handling faults occurring in either the machine winding or the power converter and improving the machine power density and efficiency. URM3 research group will deal with the design of a M/L converter having fault tolerance and providing suitable control for the machine torque and speed. The URM3 unit will also develop a modular M/L DAB converter for the DC supply of the machine superconductive winding. Further to that, control algorithms will be developed for both detecting and managing fault conditions within the drive and for regulating the field current. The two Units will share a common approach regarding the SUPERDRIVE architecture, as well as for design tools. Objectives will be achieved through developing suitable design methods and simulation models. In addition, research activities will be devoted to validating the theoretical studies by means of a laboratory set up with reduced scale prototypes of both the power electronic converters and superconductive synchronous machine. Hence, the project will include experimental activities devoted to validation of the design methods and simulation results.

People involved





ERC sectors

PE7_2 - Electrical engineering: power components and/or systems


Total cost: € 239,470.00
Total contribution: € 239,470.00
PoliTo total cost: € 112,000.00
PoliTo contribution: € 112,000.00