Hybrid-electric propulsion technology in civil aircraft design could be a key technology on the way to green aviation. With the help of this technology, the propulsion systems can be distributed along the wing span and thus lead to more efficient aerodynamics. At the same time, a more favorable wing load distribution and thus a lower wing mass can be achieved by distributing the propulsion masses. Furthermore, there are further degrees of freedom for flight control and potentials for noise reduction. These aspects will be investigated in the context of the entire aircraft, i.e. in their multi-disciplinary interaction.
The main objective of the DLR research activities in SynergIE is to investigate the overall system of a hybrid-electric short-range aircraft for up to 100 passengers with distributed propulsion on the wing in order to investigate and quantify potential efficiency improvements, to integrate them into the aircraft design and to give recommendations for further development steps up to demonstrator concepts. This will be carried out in close cooperation with the overall project consortium leader Airbus and the partners Rolls-Royce Deutschland and Bauhaus Luftfahrt.
In addition, an integrated "software simulation tool chain" for future aircraft designs with distributed hybrid-electric propulsion systems will be developed and established at DLR, in order to expand the overall assessment capability in research and industry. The interdisciplinary workcovers the integrated efficiency of the wing and the propellers in close interaction as well as stability and control with flight simulation and performance while also considering aeroelastic constraints. In addition, an initial assessment of the propeller noise will be carried out.
The Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology leads the project. It defines the overall propeller arrangement, analyzes and designs the combination of wing and propellers with RANS CFD methods in trimmed flight conditions to determine the required power.