Crane A&E Technology an Enabler for Advanced Microgrids

Crane A&E Technology an Enabler for Advanced Microgrids

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Microgrid Graphic


Microgrids, across the world, are a growing segment of the energy industry. They are small-scale electrical networks that operate independently from large scale electrical grids. A shift from remote, central station power plants, microgrids enable a more localized power distribution and via the use of more efficient clean energy sources such as solar or wind rather than relying on a distant power plant and long transmission lines. As society, industry and defense adopt greener technologies, microgrids will become a growing capability requirement, and Crane Aerospace & Electronics’ existing knowledge in high power electronics is well positioned to aid that growth.


Very large-scale power plants such as hydro, coal or nuclear power have been the core for electrical power around the world. The advantage of scale enables these power plant to produce tremendous amounts of power, however, require inefficient distribution systems across thousands of miles to reach the end user. The large plants also have environmental impact on the area they reside, which is often irreversible. Alternately, renewable power generation typically comes from a grid of sources such as windmills and solar cells linked to the legacy power distribution lines. 

Microgrids take advantage of the ability to break apart power sources into small-scale power generation situated very close to the end user, eliminating the need for challenging distribution systems. In the future we may see a single neighborhood being powered by a solar farm supplemented by batteries.  This type of microgrid system would rely on power management and conversion products like Crane produces today for aircraft such as the 787 and military radar systems.


The United States Department of Defense (DoD) is reimaging how it consumes energy. Globally, the DoD is one of the largest consumers of energy, and the Air Force is the largest user of fuel energy in the US Government. The way energy is currently generated, stored, transmitted and used is critically important for combat, and the system in place is potentially crippling if the logistics chain is broken.  

Implementing innovative, smart microgrids offers the DoD an excellent solution to many energy challenges it faces. Whether using a generator, battery or renewable resources, microgrids offer a higher level of resilience given they don’t rely on outside fuels. Other advantages to tactical microgrids includes providing redundancy, decentralized generation and distribution, lower fuel consumption, ability to redistribute available energy and providing connections for many energy generation sources available in tactical environments.  As military ground vehicles become all or hybrid-electric, the vehicles themselves become a source of power generation for remote bases or supporting equipment.


With more than 60 years of experience in power conversion, Crane A&E offers a total solution for advanced high-power microgrid deployment and a full line of designs to include off-the-shelf and custom power solutions for the commercial aerospace, defense, and space markets. Crane A&E has developed, and continues to develop, power supply products that are interactive in all electrical distribution systems. As trusted industry leaders in power and advanced packaging solutions, our products meet the requirements for mission critical applications while delivering the efficiency and reliability that our customers demand.

Crane Power Conversion Types in Support of Advanced Microgrids:

AC-DC Power Conversion

  • Auto-Transformer Rectifier Units (ATRUs)

  • Transformer Rectifier Units (TRUs)

  • Regulated Transformer Rectifier Units (RTRUs)

  • Power Factor Correction Units (PFCs)

DC-DC Power Conversion

  • In multiples of 4, 15 and 30 kW

  • Input voltages from 270 to 860 Vdc

  • Output voltages from 20 to 600 Vdc

Crane A&E’s power conversion products can be combined into systems delivering up to 1 megawatt of power. Our Power Factor Correction units can be combined with our DC-DC converters to provide a complete AC-DC conversion solution for a variety of both input and output voltages. These AC-DC conversion blocks can then be stacked to provide necessary output power. Crane A&E has recently developed 250 kilowatt and 500 kilowatt systems using this technique.

In addition to our flexible power conversion capabilities, Crane A& has expertise in:

  • High integrity power/flight critical DAL A

  • Clean power/low harmonic distortion

  • High efficiency power

    • >98% for ATRUs

    • >96% for DC-DC converters

  • Space qualified, radiation-hardened converters

  • Systems engineering, integration and test

  • Software and firmware design

  • Selection and management of battery systems

  • Sub-system level certification expertise

  • Proprietary magnetics designs

  • Innovative packaging through modular designs for improved affordability