Professor Kiruba Haran, IEEE Fellow, Steering Committee Member of the IEEE Transportation Electrification Community, and former chair of the Electric Machinery Committee of IEEE-PES, talked with Dr. Marty Bradley, chair of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Aircraft Electrified Propulsion and Power Working Group and Technical Fellow for The Boeing Company. Marty works in the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Advanced-Concepts Group in Long Beach, California, where he has led projects on aviation environmental life-cycle analysis and propulsion. He was the Principal Investigator for the NASA-funded SUGAR study looking at advanced technologies for future commercial aircraft, including the hybrid electric SUGAR Volt.
Kiruba listed key players in electrified propulsion: NASA, specifically its American Aerospace Technical Academy program, and more broadly, its aeronautics piece, and all the major aviation engine companies publicly involved with related projects. More than 100 electrified aircraft concepts currently are being pursued, with 60 percent of those from non-traditional aerospace companies. Boeing and traditional air-framers also have projects underway.
The AIAA and IEEE are collaborating on electrified aviation propulsion initiatives through the Transportation Electrification Committee by developing cooperative workshops to provide a common interface into the five or six IEEE societies that have elements connected to electrification as it relates to the aviation industry. In July 2016, Kiruba spoke at an AIAA workshop calling for greater collaboration with IEEE. This led to the joint IEEE Electric Aircraft Technologies Symposium in the summer of 2018 that helped solidify ongoing cooperation between the AIAA and IEEE.
Kiruba stated that for “more electric aircraft” (with electrical auxiliary systems) to become “all electric aircraft” (electrical propulsion with a unified system of components, controls, thermal management, protection and redundancy handled at the vehicle level, and, potentially, multiple power generation units that are networked and maybe feed more than one propulsion unit), component people must talk to the airplane folks. Marty noted that AIAA has focused on aerospace, aeronautics, and aerodynamics performance. But airplane designers have lacked skills in modeling electrical components and understanding how to include electrified components. Bringing IEEE and AIAA together will expedite their common goal.
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