2022 Pickering Medal: Superconducting engineering for all-electric aircraft
Professor Rod Badcock, of Robinson Research Institute, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington, has been awarded the Pickering Medal for developing superconducting technologies that are enabling electrical machines at the leading edge of current engineering practice.
High Temperature Superconductors (HTS) enable step-change increases in power-density and efficiency of electric machines, such as needed for electric aircraft and high-speed trains.
Complex ceramic HTS conductors exhibit runaway (non-linear) mechanical and electrical behaviour, requiring new mechanical, electrical, and cryogenic cooling engineering methodologies to prevent this. Rod leads the development of a New Zealand platform mitigating this behaviour and enabling HTS machines internationally.
Rod’s accomplishments in advancing the science and technology of superconductors have already had an important commercial impact.
Furthermore, his work is setting the stage for a new widescale commercial industry based on the all-electric aircraft, using superconducting motors and electric power distribution systems.
To recognise excellence and innovation in the practical applications of technology.
For developing superconducting technologies that are enabling electrical machines at the leading edge of current engineering practice.