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GE Aviation to create electric power research & development center in Ohio

GE Aviation today announced that it will create an Electrical Power Integrated Systems Research & Development Center (EPISCENTER) near Dayton, Ohio. The center will be directed at several markets including on- and off-highway hybrid and electric vehicles, more electric aircraft and marine applications.

The exact location of the center is expected to be announced by the end of 2010 following site research, analysis and final business reviews. GE expects EPISCENTER operations to begin in 2012.

"GE's EPISCENTER will focus on advanced energy management involving electric power systems research and development including electric power generation, control, distribution & management, conversion and energy storage equipment," said Vic Bonneau, president of Electric Power for GE Aviation Systems. "This center of excellence will be used to design optimized systems that deliver electric power efficiently and robustly for our military and commercial customers."

The Ohio Third Frontier Commission is providing a capital grant for up to $7.6 million in support of the center. "Helping to launch innovative technology in the aviation industry is an important aim of Ohio Third Frontier," said Ohio Governor Ted Strickland said. "This investment underscores the importance of linking Ohio's educational and industrial research strengths to boost Ohio as an advanced technology leader."

"The center will be focused on developing electrical power improvements for a range of growth applications including hybrid and electric ground vehicles, civilian and military more electric aircraft," said Lisa Patt-McDaniel, director of the Ohio Department of Development. "This new addition to the Dayton area will further cement its position as a leader in advanced aviation technology."

The fiscal agent for the Ohio Third Frontier grant will be the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI). The UDRI researchers will work with GE to develop and deploy cutting-edge computer modeling, simulation & analysis of advanced, dynamic electric power systems design and controls.

"UDRI is proud to have made a difference by working with GE and the state to attract this center to Ohio," said John Leland, director of UDRI. "This center will allow us to build on long-standing capabilities in modeling and simulation that may eventually be applied to other complex electrical systems such as smart utility grids and electric vehicles."

"Electrification in transportation is a growth area," continued Bonneau. "This center will yield system-level benefits so that our customers can more rapidly benefit from this trend in energy management, climate control, radars and sensors, silicon carbide based power conversion and electric actuation, to name a few."

The center will work on advanced electrical power systems research and development in support of hybrid electric ground vehicles, the electrification of naval surface ships and especially in the aviation industry's More Electric Aircraft (MEA) technology. GE's electrical power technology path supports coming generations of commercial air transports, business and regional jets, and strategic and tactical future programs such as the ground combat vehicle, the joint light tactical vehicle, numerous public and proprietary unmanned air vehicles, and the miniaturization effort of electrical power on naval vessels.

"Proximity to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and its Air Force Research Labs (AFRL) was an additional consideration in GE's decision to locate in the Dayton region," added Bonneau. "The center will allow GE and UDRI to provide significant new support to AFRL. This will make available a world-class facility for research into robust electric power systems, which will enhance the Dayton region's attractiveness as a center of aviation research and development."

This new center adds to GE's leading research and development capabilities, which are focused on finding solutions to some of the world's toughest challenges. Research employees at the center will join 2,800 researchers and employees at GE's four global research facilities. GE's R&D employees represent nearly every scientific discipline and more than 1,100 of them hold doctoral degrees.

Press release issued by GE Aircraft Engines on March 31, 2010


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