- NASA is investing in Electrified Aircraft Propulsion (EAP) research to improve the fuel efficiency, emissions, and noise levels in commercial transport aircraft.
- The goal is to show that one or more viable EAP concepts exist for narrow-body aircraft and to advance crucial technologies related to those concepts.
- Viability in this context implies that concept of operation benefits have been identified for fuel burn, energy consumption, emissions, and noise metrics. Reasonable development approaches for key technologies have been identified.
|Study||Pax Speed, Mach||Airframe||EAP||Electrical
|NASA STARC-ABL||154, 0.8||Tube and wing||Partial Turboelectric||2 to 3||2 turbofans and 1 aft motor-driven fan|
|Boeing SUGAR Freeze||154, 0.7||Tube and truss brace wing||Partially Turboelectric
|50||2 turbofans and 1 aft motor-driven fan|
|NASA N3-X||300, 0.84||Hybrid wing body||Turboelectric||16 aft motor-driven plans|
|ESAero ECO-150||150, 0.7||Tube and split wing||Turboelectric||50||16 wing motor-driven plans|
|Boeing SUGAR Volt||154, 0.7||Tube and truss brace wing||Parallel Hybrid Electric||1.3 or 5.3||2 motor-assisted turbofans|
|Rolls-Royce||154, 0.7||Tube and wing||Parallel Hybrid Electric||1 to 2.6||2 motor-assisted turbofans|
|UTRC||154, 0.7||Tube and wing||Parallel Hybrid Electric||2.1||2 motor-assisted turbofans|
- NASA is making significant progress towards establishing the viability of Electrified Aircraft Propulsion (EAP) through a combination of aircraft conceptual design studies and advancement of key tall-pole technologies.
- Partially turboelectric and parallel hybrid candidates have been shown viable for introduction into service in 2035, and a long-term vision has been established for a fully turboelectric system
- NASA is developing key powertrain technologies that are applicable for a wide variety of large aircraft configurations, including electrical machines (motors/generators), converters (inverters/rectifiers), and the underlying electrical materials for EMI filters and cabling.
- In the next 5 years the goal is to narrow the focus to the most viable concepts as a means to prepare for flight demonstrations of those concepts.
- It is believed that the right building blocks are in place to have a viable large-plane EAP configuration tested by 2025 leading to entry into service in 2035 if resources can be harnessed toward pursuing that goal.
- Motors and/or generators (Electric machines) are needed on all electrified aircraft.
- NASA is sponsoring or performing work to achieve power densities 2-3 times the state of the art for machines in the MW or larger class.
- Three major machine types are being developed: permanent magnet, induction, and wound field
power rating, MW
|University of Illinois||1||13||>96||Permanent magnet||18,000||Cylinder 0.45 m by 0.12 m|
|Ohio State University||2.7||13||>96||Induction||2,500||Ring 1.0 m by 0.12 m|
|NASA Glenn Research Center||1.4||16||>98||Wound field||6,800||Cylinder 0.40 m by 0.12 m|
- Power converters are an essential component in most EAP aircraft concepts, as they are used to convert from ac to dc power, or vice versa
- NASA is sponsoring or performing work to achieve power densities 2-3 times the state of the art for converters in the MW or larger class.
- Silicon carbide and gallium nitride converts are being developed with conventional cooling as well as a cryogenically cooled converter
|General Electric||1||19||99||3 level||SiC/Si||Liquid|
|University of Illinois||0.2||19||99||7 level||GaN||Liquid|
- New soft magnetic materials – improve performance of converter filters and electric machines
- Insulation – electrical insulation with better thermal transfer to improve electric machine performance
- High-Conductivity Copper/Carbon Nanotube Conductor – approach to reduce the mass of cables
- Superconducting Wire Development – AC superconductors which could be used for electric machines or distribution
An electric aircraft power system test facility (NASA Electric Aircraft Testbed (NEAT)) has reached operational status at NASA Glenn Research Center. NEAT is being used to perform both industry partnership testing and in-house NASA R&D. NASA Glenn also has a range of test capabilities for EAP components, for example, in the area of magnetic materials. The correct building blocks are in place to have a viable large-plane EAP configuration tested by 2025 leading to entry into service in 2035.
The EAP team has a wide selection of resources available. Explore the link below to locate technical documents and presentations.