Special Session – Hybrid and Electric Aircraft Technologies (25 October)


Image courtesy of Cranfield University

The Aerospace Industry is now looking at new and radical solutions for reduced emissions and improved efficiencies for future aircraft. Current technologies such as high bypass ratio gas-turbines and composite materials have given useful gains but much more is needed and these approaches can no longer keep pace with new demands and growth.

Whilst pure electric propulsion is attractive the limitations on battery performance restrict possibilities in the short and medium term.

However recent work has shown that moving to a hybrid system where gas-turbines are used to generate electrical power and this is distributed to a large number of small electrical propulsion units can give significant benefits.

The Industry is now taking this approach very seriously with extensive research in Europe and the USA. This clearly requires new and novel approaches to electrical power networks and machines with power density and efficiency becoming top priority.

These HEDP aircraft effectively unlock design constraints on future aircraft giving rise to a wide variety of possible new designs. The electrical research community needs to understand these new application areas and engage with the aerospace industry to solve these ambitious new requirements.

In this special session on 25 October 2017, speakers will describe the background to these new requirements and some options for new electrical research activities.

Programme (updated as of 23 September 2017)

Venue:  Simpor Room 4911, Level 4, Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands

S/N Name of speaker Topic Organisation Time
Dr Amit Gupta Introduction of Session Rolls-Royce Singapore 4.00pm
1 Prof  Peter Malkin From More-Electric To Hybrid Electric Aircraft Newcastle University, UK 4.00 – 4.20pm
2 Prof Kaushik Rajashekara Power Generation and Distribution Architectures for More Electric and Hybrid Electric Aircraft Systems University of Houston, USA 4.20 – 4.40pm
3 Dr Min Zhang Superconducting propulsion system for electric aircraft University of Bath, UK 4.40 – 5.00pm
4 Prof Martin Henz Electric personal air vehicles National University of Singapore 5.00 – 5.20pm
5 Dr Amit Gupta How More Electric Technology is Shaping Aero Engine Design Rolls-Royce Singapore 5.20 – 5.40pm

Abstract and Biography of Special Session Speakers 

Professor Peter Malkin
Strategic Research Adviser, Newcastle University, UK


Topic: From More-Electric To Hybrid Electric Aircraft

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Abstract:  The Civil Aerospace Industry has been evaluating More Electric technologies (where more of the subsidiary systems are electrified) for some time. However in recent years it has become apparent that new and radical solutions are required for main propulsion systems that are capable of delivering major further gains in aircraft efficiency and emissions.
The reasons behind this change will be discussed as well as the details of the key technology involved. This technology is known as Hybrid Electric Distributed Propulsion (HEDP) and the author will explain the key benefits and challenges of this approach.


Biography: Following research at Oxford and Liverpool Universities, Peter Malkin has had a successful career in Industrial Research in several major European Energy Companies in the UK and in France. He then joined Rolls-Royce plc in 1993 where he became Chief Technologist for Electrical Systems and was elected as a Rolls-Royce Engineering Fellow. During this time he specialised in Novel Power Systems and Superconducting technologies and created over 50 patents. In 2010 he took up a post of Professor of Electrical Power Engineering at Cranfield University and moved to Newcastle University in 2015 in order to further advance electrical research in the field of Hybrid Electric Distributed Propulsion aircraft.

Professor Kaushik Rajashekara
Distinguished Professor of Engineering, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Houston, USA
IEEE Fellow and Member, IEEE Transportation Electrification Community

Topic: Power Generation and Distribution Architectures for More Electric and Hybrid Electric Aircraft Systems

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Abstract: In aerospace industry, in order to lower the fuel consumption, reduce emissions, reduce maintenance, and possibly lower costs, more electric and hybrid electric architectures are the emerging trends. The intent is to move as many aircraft loads as possible to electrical power, electric starting of the engine, and conversion of all the pneumatic and hydraulic units on the accessory gearbox to an electric system. This presentation examines the electric architectures presently being used in a few of the aircraft systems and proposes new architectures based on AC and DC power distribution systems. Power generation strategies using permanent and induction machines are examined. Induction generator based electrical power generation and management system architectures for both the main engine generation system and auxiliary power unit system are introduced with a brief explanation of their operating principles and control methods.

Biography:  Kaushik Rajashekara, PhD, is a Distinguished Professor of Engineering at the University of Houston, Texas. Prior to this, he worked at UT Dallas as a Distinguished Professor of Engineering, Chief Technologist at Rolls-Royce Corporation, and Chief Scientist at Delphi/General Motors. He has published more than 160 papers in international journals and conferences and has 44 patents. He has given over 150 invited presentations at international conferences and universities. He was elected as Member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering for contributions to electric power conversion systems in transportation. He was also elected as Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He is the recipient of the IEEE Richard Harold Kaufmann award, IEEE Industry Applications Society Outstanding Achievement Award, and IEEE IAS Gerald Kliman award for contributions to electric power conversion systems in transportation. He is a Fellow of IEEE and a Fellow of SAE International.

Dr Min Zhang
Assistant Professor, University of Bath, UK
Research Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering
Topic: Superconducting propulsion system for electric aircraft
Abstract:  To reduce carbon emission, large electric aircraft will be driven by advanced propulsion machines with extremely high power density. Therefore radical changes are required in the electrical machine technology to meet the high power density requirement. High temperature superconductors (HTS) can carry more than twenty times the current compared to copper cables. Superconducting propulsion system, which includes Superconducting machines and Superconducting network, offers a prospective of achieving both high power density and high efficiency with economic cryogenic solutions. This presentation will introduce the stage-of-art HTS propulsion systems for future electric aircraft, including superconducting propulsion machines and superconducting network. The presentation will also discuss the current HTS technology limits and future prospects for development.

Biography:  Dr Zhang received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tsinghua University and her PhD from the University of Cambridge. She then became a Junior Research Fellow of Newnham College at the University of Cambridge and joined the University of Bath in 2014. Dr Zhang is currently a lecturer (Assistant Professor) and also holds a research fellowship awarded by the Royal Academy of Engineering (2017-2021).

Dr Zhang’s research focuses on the application of superconductivity in energy sector. Her long-term goal is to facilitate the advantages of superconductors to tackle the challenges for a low carbon and sustainable power system.

She has extensive research experience in the design and modelling of superconducting devices.

Recent research activities include novel superconducting machines for wind generation, advanced superconducting motors for modern transportation, superconducting fault current limiters and very high field magnets.

Dr Zhang also has several years’ experience in power system stability and protection. She is particularly interested in the flexible integration of renewable generation and fault level control.

Associate Professor Martin Henz
Faculty of Engineering and School of Computing, National University of Singapore

Topic: Electric personal air vehicles
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Abstract: The FrogWorks Design and Prototyping Studio in the Innovation & Design Centric Programme at NUS has developed a series of electric personal mobility devices as platforms for undergraduate student design projects. We have shown that such projects provide ample opportunities for inspiring engineering students to apply and extend their knowledge. Experiential and interdisciplinary learning comes to the foreground when the projects aim for real-life prototypes, and the excitement of building personal manned aircraft lead to indelible memories of students’ university projects. The talk will trace the origins of electric mobility and survey the current state of e-vehicles on land, water and the air. A slide show of FrogWorks projects portrays four FrogWorks e-vehicle projects.

Biography: Martin’s research spans education, combinatorial optimisation, FPGAs, programming tools and languages, and most recently electric vehicles, with publications in ICJCAI, AAAI, ICTAI, CP, Operations Research, EVS and EVER.

He teaches programming, programming languages and logic, and supervises design projects.

Together with Dr Jörg Weigl and Brian Teo, Martin initiated the FrogWorks design and prototyping studio at the Innovation & Design Centric Programme in the Faculty of Engineering at NUS. So far, more than 30 FrogWorks students have developed green vehicles that operate on land, at sea and in the air.

Together with Alan Sevugan, Martin founded the software company FriarTuck, whose software solutions, WorkforceOptimizer and SurgeryOptimizer, schedule countless employees and surgeries every day, in Singapore and the region.

Dr Amit Gupta
Chief of Electrical Capability Group, Rolls-Royce Singapore
Topic:  How More Electric Technology is Shaping Aero Engine Design
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Abstract: At Rolls-Royce, our vision is to be the market-leader in high performance power systems where our engineering expertise, global reach and deep industry knowledge deliver outstanding customer relationships and solutions. We operate across five areas: Civil Aerospace, Defence Aerospace, Power Systems, Marine and Nuclear.

Over the last 100 years, since Rolls-Royce developed its first Aero Engine the “Eagle”, gas turbine performance and efficiencies have continually improved. Recent advancements in more integrated power systems are leading to an increasing adoption of More Electric solutions. This More Electric trend is observed by the sharp increase in electrification starting with the Boeing 787 ‘More Electric Aircraft’ there has been significant research undertaken to investigate MEA and Hybrid Electric Aircraft. This talk covers a few aspects of the More Electric challenges.

Biography: Amit Gupta holds a Bachelor degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Roorkee and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from National University of Singapore (NUS). During 2000-12, he worked for Bechtel Corporation, Samsung Heavy Industries, Delphi Automotive Systems and Vestas Wind Systems. Since August 2012, he has been Chief of Rolls-Royce Electrical (RRE) at Rolls-Royce Singapore Pte Ltd. He is Director of the Electrical Programme at Rolls-Royce@NTU Corporate lab.

To date he has been granted 22 patents and filed another 21 patents. He has also published more than 70 papers in international conferences and journals. He is an Adjunct Professor with ECE, NUS and EEE, NTU. He holds a six sigma Green Belt Certificate from Delphi Automotive Systems and trained in six sigma Black Belt techniques through Vestas Wind Systems.

He received 2016 IEEE R10 Industry-Academia collaboration award for developing world class electrical R&T lab EPSIL@N. He was runner up in 2015 Rolls-Royce Engineering & Technology (E&T) Technical Awards. He is a recipient of Vestas Innovation excellence award for being top 5 innovators of Vestas Global Research. He is a recipient of the Prize paper from the IEEE Industrial Applications Society’s (IAS) – Industrial Power Converter Committee (IPCC) for 2005.

He is an Associate Editor for IEEE Transitions on Power Electronics and plays an active role in organizing electrical power engineering conferences in Asia. He is Fellow of the IET and a Chartered Engineer from Engineering Council UK, and a Senior Member of IEEE.