Abstract

Environmental requirements have led the air transportation industry to work towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mechanical noise levels. Nowadays, this sector contributes with 2% of the total greenhouse gas emissions, and there is a demand from global aviation regulators for further reducing this percentage. In the last years, the development of Hybrid-Electric Propulsion Systems (HEPSs) has grown. The HEPS combines an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), for example, Gas Turbine (GT) or reciprocating engine, with an Electric Motor (EM), combining the inherent advantages of both. HEPSs present increased efficiency and operating safety in comparison with conventional ICE-powered systems. Furthermore, they can supply the electrical devices with power. This area of study is multidisciplinary in nature and, therefore, poses research challenges on ICEs, EMs, electronic converters, propeller design, monitoring and control systems, management and supervision systems, energy efficiency and optimization, aerodynamics and aircraft mechanical design. A research project aimed at the characterisation of hybrid-electric aircraft propulsion systems, and the construction of a HEPS prototype, is underway in Brazil. The system is essentially composed of a GT, an EM, three electronic converters, a battery bank and a propeller. It can operate with three different topologies: series, full-electric and turbo-electric. A test bench with all the necessary peripheral and analysis infrastructure is under construction. Present work aims to: (i) develop simplified models for all the test bench components, (ii) given a mission profile, show the results of an initial energy management computing code that determines the optimal hybridization strategy, and (iii) simulate various operating alternatives for the chosen mission profile. The results (i) highlight the impact of critical characteristics of the batteries on the HEPS performance, and (ii) demonstrate the application of the management code on optimizing the aircraft energy consumption for a given mission profile.

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