The NASA commercialization potential for an efficient, viable hybrid electric aircraft propulsion system is quite promising. The NASA Subsonic Fixed Wing (SFW) project has identified ambitious goals for the next three generations of aircraft, N+1, N+2, and N+3. For the N+3 generation (2025 timeframe), these include a -52 dB noise reduction relative to stage 4 noise limit, an -80% reduction in NOx emissions, and a -60% reduction in total mission energy consumption. Various forms of electric and hybrid electric propulsion hold a great deal of potential to make significant contributions towards these goals. NASA is currently investigating various technologies, ranging from advanced aerodynamics, superconducting electronics and electromechanical devices to advanced structures, under a program called Large Electric Aircraft Propulsion Technology (LEAP Tech). The proposed hybrid electric test bed will be an important tool in developing appropriate hybrid aircraft technologies to address these problems. The aircraft hybrid electric architecture simulation system, trade study results, and test bed will significantly enhance NASA's ability to meet the SFW N+3 goals, advancing the state-of-the-art to make hybrid electric systems efficient, competitive, safe, reliable, and cost effective.
The commercialization potential for an efficient, viable hybrid electric aircraft propulsion system is quite promising. The commercialization potential for a hybrid electric, multi-architecture propulsion system simulator is also quite good. The development of a tool for both detailed and preliminary design for hybrid electric propulsion systems will be highly sought after as hybrid electric propulsion systems become increasingly attractive and more prevalent. The development of a research test bed for studying all aspects of hybrid electric aircraft propulsion will act as a technical enabler. The propulsion system simulator will enable component optimization and a variety of operational studies to be performed, all of which will help define the important aspects and characteristics for a successful hybrid electric aircraft propulsion system. With the knowledge gained from this project, and the likely follow-on research, RHRC will be well positioned to team with aircraft manufacturers interested in producing hybrid electric aircraft propulsion systems. The propulsion system simulator coupled with a working testbed will be a key technology demonstration package with the capability to evaluate new components or concepts as they are developed. RHRC can also use the knowledge and experience gained during the program to develop hybrid electric propulsion systems for existing aircraft.