Shivang with Advisor Prof. Arijit Banerjee

Turboelectric propulsion systems are considered a critical enabler for low-carbon emission in the aircraft industry. Unlike hybrid-electric and all-electric systems, these use no batteries for propulsive energy during any flight phase. Since batteries with high power capacity and specific power required for commercial aircraft are unlikely to be developed within the next 30-years, turboelectric systems are currently the only feasible option.

Of the several motors available for driving the distributed propeller fans, brushless doubly-fed reluctance machines (BDFRM) are seen as one of the more attractive, primarily because they use a partially-rated power converter, brushless operation and have low rotor losses. Our research analyses the suitability of a BDFRM for this megawatt-class application by computing the required size of the machine and drive. A switched-drive architecture as shown in Figure 1 is proposed for the machine control. It reconfigures the stator excitation on-the-fly, enabling a wide speed range operation while preserving the benefit of fractionally-rated power electronics. The research is supported by NASA.

Figure 1: Architecture of switched brushless doubly-fed reluctance machine drive. The primary stator is connected to the ac supply in high-speed, high-power mode and to the dc source in low-speed, low-power mode