This work will facilitate the conceptual design of hybrid/all-electric propulsion systems from transformational thin-haul to transport air vehicles. This application comes from the improvement in fidelity and integration of TeDP and HEDP power and propulsion systems into a moderate- to high- fidelity ECO reference vehicles sized using PANTHER with power systems from Rolls Royce and aero-propulsive knowledge from Helden. This work benefits multiple NRA projects, and other direct NASA projects like RVLT, AATT and TACP. Several nuances native to the turbo-electric or hybrid electric distributed propulsion are electric component weight and structure, power transmission networks, and thermal management systems. These new design hurdles have not been addressed in previous methods or efforts, but play a significant role in determining the feasibility of these aircraft, as one of the major benefits to a decoupled energy management system using distributed propulsion is the freedom in placing the propulsors virtually anywhere. With a potential decision by NASA to determine if these types of vehicles are feasible in the next few years, the results of this ECO effort will equip NASA with opportunities for independent technology assessment and comparison, system integration and challenges, potential partnership funding paths, and potential component or system commercialization opportunities to support "vision vehicle" configurations for internal NASA studies and public relations.
ESAero will use this work to guide aerospace primes toward the identification of feasible hybrid-electric architectures and support power system manufacturers interested in how their technology affects hybrid/all-electric designs. A robust PANTHER tool and high confidence vehicles will be available to advance the art and understand tradable system architecture parameters for future hybrid pursuits. Electric air vehicle design services for Aerospace companies (especially primes) are only becoming of greater demand. This has been shown by ESAero with other government entities and industry including Boeing, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, General Atomics, Electricore, automotive manufacturers, etc. While these efforts have been specific to electric- or hybrid-electric distributed propulsion type of aircraft, limitless integration opportunities to support quick iteration conceptual design with little incoming knowledge of the system provides a relatively new service and capability. There is potential and interest to sell and/or otherwise make the resultant ECO configurations and PANTHER open source to industry partners to advance the technologies necessary. Having been told that ESAero is one of the only groups looking at tube-and-wing distributed propulsion and rotorcraft at this level for more conventional machines, there is limited competition, as the major airframers and universities are looking at hybrid, blended wing bodies and larger systems.