Integrated Power & Propulsion Architectures
The large transport aircraft industry has, over the past decade, been introducing more electrical systems to replace the traditional hydraulic, bleed air and mechanical systems in order to reduce fuel burn.
This has progressively increased the mechanical power offtake from the engine and power demanded from the electrical system. More Electric Aircraft Architecture has the intrinsic potential to reduce fuel burn and harmful emissions from aircraft, although it does still faces some significant challenges.
The objective of this project is to identify key propulsion, power generation, distribution and management technologies which will enable the More Electrical Aircraft to demonstrate significant fuel burn benefit, in the range of 3 to 6%. To achieve this, the project modelled and evaluated an integrated propulsion and electrical power architecture, from engine to electrical loads, with the aim to quantify benefits and identify and develop system level enablers required to secure aircraft level fuel burn reduction.
The project brought together the suppliers of all the elements of the architecture, engine, generation, distribution, and electrical loads (Rolls-Royce, Safran Electrical & Power, Honeywell, GE Aviation, Raytheon, UTC Aerospace Systems), together with the airframe integrator (Airbus Group Innovations). Companies which are sometimes fierce competitors have teamed in this project up to advance this promising technology.
Partners have been able to perform design iterations and optimization, improving their systems’ key performance indicators such as weight, cost, fuel burn, peak power required or total energy required over a mission. Some key performance indicators have been improved by as much as 30% in some cases.
Werner Rothammer, head of the More Electric Aircraft Programme at Airbus, said:
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“The project contributed to an increased visibility of the UK supply chain that is now in a position to be both more credible and competitive suppliers to future Airbus aircraft programmes. This would not have been possible without ATI funding.”