A Research Blog about Multidisciplinary Design Optimization

Posts tagged with 'hybrid-electric'

Have electric aircraft reached the peak of inflated expectations?

November 17th, 2017, by Ben Brelje

It’s common knowledge that most new technologies are overhyped during early development. Technology advisory firm Gartner terms this process the hype cycle and suggests that there are five stages. Sure, it's made up and it's not really a cycle, but we'll go with it:

  1. Technology trigger: Laboratory or theoretical results suggest a promising new area known mostly to topical experts. Industry and the press largely have not picked up the story yet
  2. Peak of inflated expectations: Popular press and industrial leaders learn of the technology and appreciate the potential benefits but not the technical risks and limitations. Some early demonstrators may be revealed as successes; the bugs may not be publicly known.
  3. Trough of disillusionment: Commercial implementations produce mixed results once customers put the technology into use and expose flaws. Major early projects may fail.
  4. Slope of enlightenment: Problems are fixed in second-generation products following in-service experience. Industry begins to change its ways of doing business to take full advantage of the new technology.
  5. Plateau of productivity: The technology becomes mainstream in industry; incremental improvement maximizes performance. 
Where is electric aircraft propulsion in the hype cycle?

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Deriving the modified Breguet range equation for a hybrid-turboelectric aircraft

September 8th, 2017, by Ben Brelje


  • Modifications to the Breguet range equation considering hybridization of energy storage are proposed
  • Payload-range charts are constructed to illustrate the impact of hybridization on airplane performance for a TBM 700-sized design using two different non-dimensionalizations
  • Simple, analytical expressions for the impact of technology and mission requirements on airplane weight are derived and explained

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Progress in hybrid-electric drivetrain components

September 6th, 2017, by Ben Brelje

I just moved back to Ann Arbor and started school, so the last several weeks have seen a large number of important stories pile up. Let's address some of them here:

  • NASA forms partnerships for development of electric propulsion system components, focusing on power density and efficiency
  • GE announces hybrid-electric progress
  • Aviation Week publishes eVTOL issue
  • Hybrid-electric UAS offered for sale
  • Airbus Vahana flight test plans
  • eVTOL odds and ends

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Electric Flight Roundup: More details on the NASA X-57 Maxwell

July 27th, 2017, by Ben Brelje

Well, I may have been too ambitious with the idea of a "weekly" tempo for my last blog post. So much was announced at Paris but the following weeks were slow. I've been gathering updates since then and my plan is to post when I reach a critical mass of material or when a feature-worthy development comes along.

  • More details on the X-57
  • Turbine primes throw cold water on electrification potential
  • External analysis of Zunum
  • New FACEs and fresh configurations

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Weekly Roundup: Airbus Vahana is number-crunching away

June 21st, 2017, by Ben Brelje
  • Airbus A^3's Vahana team is renting the heavy iron with Rescale Cloud HPC
  • Israeli firm EViation makes its Paris debut
  • XTI Aviation announces first three orders in Paris
  • Zunum secures another round of funding from the Washington State clean energy fund

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