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Energies 2018, 11(2), 344; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11020344

Challenges and Opportunities of Very Light High-Performance Electric Drives for Aviation

1
Institut für Elektrische Maschinen, Antriebe und Bahnen, Technische Universität Braunschweig, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany
2
Institut für Antriebssysteme und Leistungselektronik, Leibniz Universität Hannover, 30167 Hannover, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 January 2018 / Revised: 25 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards a Transformation to Sustainable Aviation Systems)

Abstract

The demand for alternative fueling methods to reduce the need for fossil fuels is not limited to the electrification of ground vehicles. More-electric and all-electric aircraft pose challenges, with extensive requirements in terms of power density, efficiency, safety, and environmental sustainability. This paper focuses on electrical machines and their components, especially for high-power applications like the main propulsion. The electrical machine is evaluated from different aspects, followed by a closer look at the components and materials to determine the suitability of the current standard materials and advanced technologies. Furthermore, the mechanical and thermal aspects are reviewed, including new and innovative concepts for the cooling of windings and for the use of additive manufacturing. Aircraft have special demands regarding weight and installation space. Following recent developments and looking ahead to the future, the need and the possibilities for light and efficient electrical machines are addressed. All of the approaches and developments presented lead to a better understanding of the challenges to be expected and highlight the upcoming opportunities in electrical machine design for the use of electric motors and generators in future aircraft. Several prototypes of electrical machines for smaller aircraft already exist, such as the electric drive of the Siemens powered Extra 330LE. The focus of this paper is to provide an overview of current technical possibilities and technical interrelations of high performance electric drives for aviation. A 1 MW drive is exemplified to present the possibilities for future drives for airplanes carrying a larger number of passengers. All presented techniques can also be applied to other drive power classes. View Full-Text
Keywords: electrical machines; high-performance electric drive; all-electric aircraft; more-electric aircraft; electric propulsion; additive manufacturing; superconductors; mechanical modelling; thermal modelling; direct liquid cooling electrical machines; high-performance electric drive; all-electric aircraft; more-electric aircraft; electric propulsion; additive manufacturing; superconductors; mechanical modelling; thermal modelling; direct liquid cooling
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Henke, M.; Narjes, G.; Hoffmann, J.; Wohlers, C.; Urbanek, S.; Heister, C.; Steinbrink, J.; Canders, W.-R.; Ponick, B. Challenges and Opportunities of Very Light High-Performance Electric Drives for Aviation. Energies 2018, 11, 344.

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