Project no. 314
FEM Design Considerations for Sustainable Aircraft
S. Amoutzidis 1, R. Singh 2, N. Wiegman 2
1 DTU Sustainable Energy , Technical University of Denmark
2 DTU Electrical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
Aircraft are one of the primary modes of transportation in our modern world. It is also one of
the final means of transport to be hybridized or electrified. Conventional aircrafts consume
large amount of fossil fuels, whilst their mechanical components demand high maintenance
and material cost. We aim to bring state-of-the-art electromagnetic technologies to the
aviation sector, enabling a new era of flight.
The nature of flight desires a different optimal design than a stationary application, or even a
land- or water-based vehicle. We are working towards improving existing technologies for
use with aircraft, both the on-board Electric Power and Propulsion System (EPPS) and the
stationary Recharging System (RS). We are working with different companies around the
world on improving these technologies. We propose a system to modify a current aircraft
design for long-range, Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) flight. A VTOL aircraft
can land nearly anywhere, while retaining the range and cruise speed advantages of
conventional, wing-bourne flight.
SYSTEM DESIGN CHALLENGES
Any aircraft goes through a routine before, during, and after flight. Normally, this means
maintenance, refueling, pre-flight checks, and many other things in addition to actual flight.
As we have Electrical Engineering backgrounds, we focused on the electrical aspects of
both the aircraft EPPS and RS.
The VTOL flight plan creates two very different power and speed requirements for the
EPPS, with separate motor efficiencies at each operating point. Creating a near-optimal
motor design for these two operating points will increase the overall aircraft range, hopefully
increasing the adoption rate of electric aircraft technology.
Energy storage is important to the RS, because it enables a lower power, longer usage of
the grid electricity, reducing stresses on the local power system. Flywheels utilizing a
Motor/Generator (M/G) have some advantages like high power and energy densities, longer
life, and broader range of operating temperature over conventional batteries. The M/G can
be improved through the use of Magnetic couplings (MCs), which can transfer torque without
physical contact, thereby reducing chance of damage and increasing the lifetime of the RS.
Improving the RS makes large-scale implementation of electric aircraft possible.
Our analysis of these EPPS and RS components focuses on using FEM to increase of
system’s performance with better utilization of existing resources. Under the scope of
sustainable designing, a similar amount of materials were utilized, while still increasing the
performance solely by improvement of each component’s geometry. Our solution helps to
create a progressive, sustainable aircraft for the future.