High Power Density Carbon Neutral Electrical Power Generation for Air Vehicles
Project Innovation + Advantages:
Electric propulsion for air vehicles requires a high-power density and high-efficiency electric storage and power generation system that can operate at 35,000 feet in altitude to meet economic and environmental viability. Tennessee Technological University will combine a stack comprised of tubular Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) with a gas turbine combustor to address challenges faced in all electric propulsion-based aviation. The combined SOFC-combustor concept maximizes power density and efficiency while minimizing system complexity, weight, and cost. By eliminating components and subsystems typically found in fuel cell-gas turbine hybrid systems, this design provides operational flexibility with a rapid response to flight and load conditions and enables system startup in less than 30 minutes. This elegant and revolutionary SOFC-combustor concept meets specific power and energy requirements to enable economically viable net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for long-range electric commercial aviation. The deliverables for this Phase 1 project are demonstration of a 1 kW SOFC-combustor and the design of a 5 kW ESPG system.
Electrified aviation propulsion systems have the potential to achieve ultra-high fuel-to-propulsive power conversion efficiencies compared with existing turbofan and turboprop systems.
A high specific power electrified propulsion system framework could enable net-zero carbon aviation by facilitating the transition to carbon neutral liquid fuels (CNLFs) while meeting all mission requirements.