Hybrid Electric Powered Multi-Lobed Airship for Sustainable Aviation

Manikandan Murugaiah, Darpan F. Theng, Tabrej Khan, Tamer A. Sebaey, Balbir Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The excessive depletion of fossil fuels and increasing environmental concerns have led to the need to explore alternative sources of power for aircraft. This has spurred various stakeholders in the aerospace industry to explore hybrid electric propulsion technology and fully electric vehicles. Airships are aerial platforms based on lighter-than-air systems technology. They have several unique features compared to other vehicles, chiefly their being more environmentally friendly due to low fuel consumption. Among airships, lifting-body dynastats are the most suitable configuration for implementing different levels of hybridization in propulsion systems owing to their large surface-to-volume ratio. The present study deals with the relevance of a hybrid propulsion (conventional engine + electric motor) system and its comparison to conventional ones. An objective function based on envelope volume is formulated to achieve an optimal configuration of a tri-lobed dynastat to carry 10 tons of payload over a 500 km range for specified operating conditions powered by conventional fuel and batteries. The design space is explored assuming a predicted future battery technology level with specific energies ranging from 250 to 750 Wh/kg. Three case studies based on the source of power are investigated: fuel alone, fuel + batteries, and fuel + batteries + solar array. It is seen that the airship can be fully electric with zero carbon emissions but at the expense of a longer length (+18%) and higher envelope volume (+63%) compared to the baseline model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number769
JournalAerospace
Volume9
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering

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