In the recent decades, civil aviation was growing 4.7% per annum. In order to reduce emissions promoting the global warming process, alternative propulsion systems are needed. Full-electric propulsion systems in aviation might have the potential for emission-free flights using renewable energy. However, several research efforts indicate electric propulsion only seems feasible for small aircraft. Especially due to the low energy density of batteries compared to fossil fuels.
For this reason, hybrid propulsion systems came into focus, combining the benefits of all-electric and conventional propulsion system concepts. It is also considered as bridging technology, system test and basis for component development — and therewith paves the way towards CO2 free aviation. In the ‘HyFly’ project (supported by the German Luftfahrtforschungsprogramm LuFo V-3), the potential of a hybrid electric concept for a short/mid-range 19 PAX aircraft is assessed — not only on system but also on single component basis. In a recent study, the propulsion architecture and the operating mode of the gas turbine and the electric components have been defined .
In this paper, the advantages of the hybrid propulsion architecture and a qualitative assessment of component life are presented. Methods for life time prediction for the aircraft engine, the electric motor, the reluctance generator and the battery are discussed. The impact of turbine inlet temperature on life consumption is analyzed. The life cycle of the aircraft engine and the electric components including gradual component deterioration and consequent performance degradation is simulated by using an in-house gas turbine simulation tool (GTPsim). Therefore, various effects on electric propulsion system can be predicted for the entire drivetrain system in less than one hour.