This proposal targets a design of new management methods for power generation, distribution, and conversion in complex energy systems with multiple energy sources (fuel and electric) while ensuring necessary efficiency and electrical stability. The proposed methods are in response to the need for new modeling, simulation, and control of aircraft dynamics and the need to support electrification in future aircraft. The proposed innovation consists of three intertwined contributions: (1) a novel energy-based framework for modeling electrified aircraft propulsion (EAP) for future aircraft systems in terms of energy and power interaction dynamics; (2) a novel coordinated near-optimal nonlinear control design in energy space with provable performance; and (3) protection logic integrated with such control design. Our most relevant starting concept underlying this project is the idea that a generalized reactive power can be defined for multi-physical complex systems, and it is, therefore, applicable to assessing stability/efficiency trade-offs in candidate EAP systems across any vehicle. The innovation is a step toward combining systems science and first principles in support of engineering and managing candidate transformative aircraft architectures. At present there is no analytics for such synergic approaches, and, as a result, it is not possible to enable systematic control design of energy generation, distribution, and consumption in aircraft systems. While the idea of using energy methods is not new, related analytics and algorithms for modeling complex vehicles do not exist. This project is the first of its kind to demonstrate the feasibility of managing candidate transformative aircraft configurations by means of dynamic management of energy exchanges across its components and subsystems. In this project, the novel energy-based modeling, control and protection design will be demonstrated on an actual Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft architecture.
This project defines a first-of-a-kind management framework for modeling and control of EAP aircraft architectures. This unifying energy-based framework is a direct step towards enabling EAP by aiding control and protection logic design and assessing the impact of smart control on stability/efficiency trade-off across small engines, distribution and propulsion side. The proposed framework can be further extended to electric power systems for vehicle space missions, and manned deep-space missions.
The main potential non-NASA applications are for complex energy systems such as terrestrial energy systems, microgrids, commercial aircrafts and ships; out of which all require new ways of operating and control of multi-physics subsystems. Concepts introduced in this project have potential applications for autonomous operation of small reconfigurable military microgrids.