NASA engineers at Glenn Research Center, are developing a new propulsion hybrid system for the airplanes of the future, that will function like a hybrid car, working on both fossil fuels and electricity to power.
One of NASA’s goals is to help the aircraft industry “shift from relying solely on gas turbines to using hybrid electric and turboelectric propulsion in order to reduce energy consumption, emissions and noise.”
Glenn researchers are looking at power systems that generate electricity in place of, or in addition to, thrust at the turbine engine and then convert that electricity to be converted into thrust using fans at other places on the aircraft.
Jim Heidmann, manager for NASA’s Advanced Air Transport Technology project, said:
“Aircraft are highly complex machines. Moving toward alternative systems requires creating new aircraft designs as well as propulsion systems that integrate battery technologies and electromagnetic machines like motors and generators with more efficient engines.”
Amy Jankovsky, subproject lead engineer, said:
“These systems use electric motors and generators that work together with turbine engines to distribute power throughout the aircraft in order to reduce drag for a given amount of fuel burned. Part of our research is developing the lightweight machinery and electrical systems that will be required to make these systems possible.”
NASA is presenting the current state of its propulsion research at the 2016 SciTech conference of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, currently taking place in San Diego, California.
Image credit NASA