Design Exploration for Sustainable Regional Hybrid-Electric Aircraft: A Study Based on Technology Forecasts

Marciello V, Di Stasio M, Ruocco M, Trifari V, Nicolosi F, Meindl M, Lemoine BEM, Caliandro P (2023)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2023


Book Volume: 10

Article Number: 165

Journal Issue: 2

DOI: 10.3390/aerospace10020165


The environmental impact of aviation in terms of noise and pollutant emissions has gained public attention in the last few years. In addition, the foreseen financial benefits of an increased energy efficiency have motivated the transport industry to invest in propulsion alternatives. This work is collocated within the Clean Sky 2 project GENESIS, focused on the environmental sustainability of 50-passenger hybrid-electric aircraft from a life-cycle-based perspective to support the development of a technology roadmap for transitioning towards sustainable and competitive electric aircraft systems. While several studies have already focused on the definition of possible aircraft designs combining several propulsion systems, the novelty of the present work is to consider technology forecasts and more comprehensive indicators in the design phase. These include the performance and emissions on a 200 nmi typical mission, which reflects the most economically attractive range for aircraft in the regional class. The work proposes a complete exploration of three major technology streams for energy storage: batteries, fuel cells, and turbine internal combustion engine generators, also including possible combinations of those technologies. The exploration was carried out through the execution of several designs of experiments aiming at the identification of the most promising solutions in terms of aircraft configuration for three different time horizons: short-term, 2025–2035; medium-term, 2035–2045; and long-term, 2045–2050+. As a result, in the short-term scenario, fuel energy consumption is estimated to be reduced by around 24% with respect to conventional aircraft with the same entry-into-service year thanks to the use of hybrid propulsive systems with lithium batteries. Fuel saving increases to 45% in the medium-term horizon due to the improvement in the energy density of storage systems. By the year 2050, when hydrogen fuel cells are estimated to be mature enough to completely replace kerosene-based engines, the forthcoming hybrid-electric aircraft promise no NOx and CO2 direct emissions, while being approximately 50% heavier than conventional ones.

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Marciello, V., Di Stasio, M., Ruocco, M., Trifari, V., Nicolosi, F., Meindl, M.,... Caliandro, P. (2023). Design Exploration for Sustainable Regional Hybrid-Electric Aircraft: A Study Based on Technology Forecasts. Aerospace, 10(2).


Marciello, Valerio, et al. "Design Exploration for Sustainable Regional Hybrid-Electric Aircraft: A Study Based on Technology Forecasts." Aerospace 10.2 (2023).

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