CUED Publications database

Design of a hybrid-electric propulsion system for light aircraft

Friedrich, C and Robertson, PA (2014) Design of a hybrid-electric propulsion system for light aircraft. In: UNSPECIFIED.

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This paper reveals the complexities and challenges in sizing a parallel and series Hybrid- Electric Propulsion System (HEPS) for a single-seat, light aircraft - based on a commercial airframe. Starting from a spreadsheet of key parameters, components for the two powertrain configurations are sized, based on the aircraft aerodynamics and weight. A subsequent comparison of the powertrains is then conducted in terms of component sizes (in kW), weight, control strategy and complexity to highlight their similarities and differences relative to a standard 4-stroke internal combustion engine (ICE) of similar peak power. In addition to the initial outline designs, both hybrid powertrains are optimized around their degree of hybridization to obtain the best performance. This is determined on two defined mission profiles; a short- and a long-range profile, covering a speed range from 20 to 40 m/s. Thus, the relative performance of each powertrain: series hybrid, parallel hybrid, purely electric and conventional ICE is evaluated under comparable conditions. The analysis highlights the importance of the engine design in hybrid-electric powertrains and that the parallel HEPS is favored for aviation applications, due to its inherently more efficient layout compared to the series HEPS. A parallel HEPS with a hybridization factor of 60% provides the best performance in meeting the trade-off between efficiency and endurance. However, based on the forecast improvement in the energy density of batteries, the analysis predicts a significant electrification of powertrains in the mid-term future for general aviation (GA) applications.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Divisions: Div B > Photonics
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2017 19:16
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2020 12:11