Towards Electric Aircraft: Progress under the NASA URETI for Aeropropulsion and Power Technology 2006-01-3097
The environmental impact of aircraft, specifically in the areas of noise and NOx emissions, has been a growing community concern. Coupled with the increasing cost and diminishing supply of traditional fossil fuels, these concerns have fueled substantial interest in the research and development of alternative power sources for aircraft. In 2003, NASA and the Department of Defense awarded a five year research cooperative agreement to a team of researchers from three different universities to address the design and analysis of revolutionary aeropropulsion technologies. This paper summarizes the efforts to date of one of the tasks of this research effort, including the formulation and development of methodologies to model electric propulsion systems, new sizing and synthesis algorithms for revolutionary aircraft incorporating revolutionary propulsion systems, notional studies on fuel cell powered aircraft, and the design, manufacture, and flight test of a small uninhabited aerial vehicle powered by fuel cells.