Conference Paper

Automated Hybrid Propulsion Model Construction for Conceptual Aircraft Design and Optimization


M. Fouda, E. J. Adler, J. H. Bussemaker, J. R. R. A. Martins, D. F. Kurtulus, L. Boggero, and B. Nagel


33rd Congress of the International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences, 2022

Electric and hybrid-electric propulsion systems are key technologies for sustainable aviation. Electric propulsion systems introduce many design possibilities, which must be considered in the conceptual design stage to take full advantage of electrification. This makes for a challenging conceptual design problem. Architecture optimization can be applied to explore large design spaces and au tomatically find the best architectures for a set of requirements. Electric propulsion architecture optimization requires automated and flexible propulsion system modeling. It also requires the analysis of the propulsion architecture at an aircraft level to compute a meaningful objective function for the optimization. In this study, we present an approach for defining the propulsion system architectures and evaluating their aircraft-level performance. A propulsion architecture is defined using a modular interface, allowing architectures to be automatically evaluated on the aircraft-level for a predefined mission. OpenConcept, an open source conceptual design and optimization toolkit, is used to implement the multidisciplinary problem. We present a case study of the electrification of a regional transport aircraft Beechcraft King Air C90GT with automated definition, integration and evaluation of five different propulsion systems. We perform multidisciplinary design optimization to minimize fuel burn and maximum takeoff weight for a sweep of design ranges and battery specific energies. Our approach opens the door to electric propulsion architecture optimization.