ESAero studied hybrid propulsion systems, became convinced that conventional, non-superconducting electrical systems could be made to work in a large aircraft. It was funded by NASA Ames to take the ECO-150 concept and rework it around ambient-temperature generator and motor technology available to meet NASA’s 2020-25 timeframe N+2 goals (40% less fuel used, lower emissions and lower noise).
Stemming back to 2008, the ECO-150 was derived to improve future 737-class transportation through use of embedded, Turbo-electric Distributed Propulsion. Electrification of propulsion yielded aerodynamic, structural, and integration advantages over standard configurations
ESAero has studied the application of TeDP in several forms to a wide variety of manned and unmanned air vehicles since its inception in 2003 with several approaches to distributed propulsion. In the studies, it developed a distributed propulsion system architecture and used it to estimate vehicle performance including details on the propulsion components, battery sizing and augmentation, and system performance using in-house design tools. It also identified tools that could be developed during future work.
Earlier studies hinted at the possibility that cryogenic cooling may not be necessary for certain classes of aircraft to achieve marked improvements in fuel burn and airport area noise. A more recent study, for NASA Ames Research Center under the Environmentally Responsible Aviation Project, applies non-cryogenically cooled electrical components suitable for the 2025 time frame to both a dual-use transport (left) and a regional airliner concept (right).
A turboelectric distributed propulsion (TeDP) system is a powertrain consisting of a turboshaft engine used solely to provide electrical power through a generator to electric motors driving multiple propulsive fans that are distributed above, below, or inside a wing.
Empirical Systems Aerospace, Inc. (ESAero) has studied the application of TeDP in several forms to a wide variety of manned and unmanned air vehicles since its inception in 2003 with several approaches to distributed propulsion.
Distributed propulsion is one of the revolutionary candidates for future aircraft propulsion. In this journal article, the potential role of distributed propulsion technology in future aviation is investigated. Following a historical journey that revisits distributed propulsion technology in unmanned air vehicles and military aircraft, features of...