Energy management methods have an increased impact on overall aircraft efficiency. On the one hand, they can find an optimal operation point of competing power sources. On the other hand, they control electrical or thermal loads to reduce power peaks. This enables downsizing of energy generation and contribution components.
Since reducing weight is a key enabler for more electric aircraft, the energy management method needs to be incorporated into architecture specification and system design as early as possible.
Further improvements can be made by exploiting the dynamic behavior of slow responding loads. They can be handled like an electrical storage to reduce power peaks while keeping full availability and functionality.
The applied methods start from modeling and simulation of the respective systems, especially their dynamic behavior. A detailed knowledge is needed to identify the optimization potential of a system.
Using such computer based methods, an energy management method can be easily adapted to new systems and requirements.
Especially economic models are being used for energy management of aircraft systems. They can deal with different criteria like efficiency and load priorities while
keeping computational effort low. For each load and each generator, a cost-over-power function is provided. A set of rules limit the characteristics of these functions. This enables a reliable and easy setup of the management function.
Furthermore, slow responding loads can be exploited by applying dynamic time-shifting without reducing the availability of the respective load.
Schlabe, D., and Lienig, J., “Energy Management of Aircraft Electrical Systems - State of the Art and Further Directions,” International Conference on Electrical Systems for Aircraft, Railway and Ship Propulsion (ESARS), Italy, October 2012
Schlabe, D., and Zimmer, D., “Model-Based Energy Management Functions for Aircraft Electrical Systems,” SAE Power System Conference, Phoenix – USA, October 2012