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Design and Performance of a Hybrid-Electric Fuel Cell Flight Demonstration ConceptAs electric powertrain and propulsion-airframe integration technologies advance, airborne electric propulsion concepts appear to be on the cusp of disrupting or transforming aviation markets. One of the many challenges to this transformation lies within the onboard energy storage and generation technologies. State-of-the-art battery technology is heavy and lacks support infrastructure; purely combustion-based solutions to electrical power generation suffer from increased inefficiency as compared to a traditional combustion powertrain. This paper explores another alternative: a hybrid-electric, solid oxide fuel cell power system. This power system reforms traditional fuels to feed fuel cells that generate electrical power for the aircraft electric powertrain. A representative power system is designed based on the requirements for NASA’s X-57 Mod II electric flight demonstrator platform, and is shown to exceed system feasibility goals of 300 W/kg and 60% efficiency in at least one configuration. The hybrid-electric fuel cell power system is shown to be competitive with the range performance of a combustion-based power architecture and comparable in mission energy cost to a battery-electric power system.

Document ID
Acquisition Source
Langley Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Borer, Nicholas K.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Geuther, Steven C.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Litherland, Brandon L.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Kohlman, Lee
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Date Acquired
December 6, 2019
Publication Date
June 25, 2018
Subject Category
Aircraft Design, Testing And Performance
Aircraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: AIAA Aviation
Location: Atlanta, GA
Country: United States
Start Date: June 25, 2018
End Date: June 29, 2018
Sponsors: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: 533127.
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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