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More Electric Aircraft and Rotorcraft Gas Turbine Engines

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Applied Vehicle Technology

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electrical subsystems, electrification, Gas Turbine Engines, power generation


The future of aviation is gas turbine engines, at least for now and the next 10-15-20 years. All electric aircraft concepts are unfortunately still one or two generations away, except maybe for very small all-electric aircraft. Even hybrid electric is a bigger jump than often unrealistically put forward in the specialized press. This option is still indeed very heavy and takes up a significant space on board. Even if Rolls-Royce, for example, has different projects (as E-Fan X or Accel) “to champion electrification in aircraft propulsion”, their main focus right now remains and will remain gas turbine engines, and it is the same position for all aero-engine manufacturers as of today. This ET intends to prepare a Workshop (RWS) or a Specialists Meeting (RSM) on the electrification of the “classical” gas turbine engines used in aviation (aircraft and rotorcraft) for decades now. This ET will also partly build up on the AVT-188 Specialists Meeting held in Biarritz in October 2012. This ET is not intended to focus on electric propulsion or electric aircraft or hybrid aircraft.


The scientific objective of this ET is to analyze the importance for the AVT TC PPS of a higher electrification of aircraft gas turbine engines. This ET is intended to check the interest of the topic for the AVT Panel and its member countries and to prepare the submission of the creation of a RTG intended to organize a RSW or a RSM on the same topic. In more precise terms, the topic will be detailed following these lines: • Why is electrification of some engine sub-systems so useful at the level of the engine and of the aircraft ? • What makes that electrification of some sub-systems is so important in new engine and aircraft configurations (as, for example, the so-called ventless bearing chambers or in geared turbofans)? • Which sub-systems are the most useful to be electrified? • Analyse and study in detail some of these sub-systems (power generator and conversion systems, electric fuel and oil pumps, electric de-oilers, new engine sensors, power generation present in the oil system, health monitoring systems, EMA, ...).


Electrification of some sub-systems of the aircraft gas turbine engine offers several key advantages for the next generation of aero-engines, as weight reduction, reduced energy consumption, higher efficiency of the sub-systems, faster and easier repair, higher reliability than hydraulic and pneumatic systems, reduced fuel burn, greater payload capability, reduced total life cycle costs, increased maintainability, cleaner engine maintenance, better allocation of the resources on board, real time data for maintenance and customers, ... Electrification of engine sub-systems allows also the development of new and innovative aircraft and engine configurations, as, for example, the removal of the heavy and complex accessory drive gearbox or the introduction and the use of more EMA’s (electro-mechanical actuators) for the IGVs or the thrust reverser doors. An analysis of this electrification of the turbofan sub-systems is therefore proposed in an ET with the objective to define the interest for the AVT Panel to move to a deeper study in a RTG on the same topic.

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