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Energy System Transformation in Aviation

A current challenge regarding aviation is to satisfy society’s need for mobility and at the same time take care of environmental impacts caused by air transport. For this purpose, the interdisciplinary research project Energy System Transformation in Aviation, guided by Prof.  Jens Friedrichs, was established. It aims at reducing CO2 – and NOx – emissions, decreasing noise pollution and ensuring recycling capability of air transport systems. Moreover the development of an adjusted air transportation management makes up an important issue of the project.

Beyond the information provided on this page, detailed descriptions of the projects aims, goals, concepts and approaches, you will find here.

The basic idea of all research executed in the frame of the project is the need of transition regarding the whole air transport system. This means that not only technical changes concerning aircraft technology, but also changes of infrastructure and traffic management are crucial points to pass, if emission-free air transport shall be possible in the future. Therefore, the project not only concentrates on aspects exclusively related with aviation technology, but also includes socio-scientific and economic studies into its research. 

In order to pave the way towards emission-free air traffic, the project aims at an integration of future air transportation into a circulatory energy system economy. Regarding this, especially different aspects of long, medium and short range missions and the maintenance of performance of transport aircraft play an important role. Thus, fundamental research mainly concentrates on these topics. Also the study of synthetic fuels as a possible alternative to fossil fuels forms a central research topic. Concerning this, attention has to be paid to high costs on one hand and the time it takes to develop aircrafts equipped with technologies suitable for utilizing synthetic fuels on the other. Thus long-term usability of aircrafts is a further aim to meet with respect to the projects overall objective. Picking up on that, life cycle analysis of future transport aircrafts constitutes a further important research field. In order to avoid a subsidence of performance of aircrafts with novel hybrid-electric drive and storage solutions, the projects also deals with how to achieve advancements concerning propulsion and reduction of resistance.

Energy System Transformation in Aviation

A central task of the project is the generation of interdisciplinary evaluation methods for air transport systems, situated in the midst of a proliferating energy transition. These methods are to be constantly revised, developed and complemented, thereby equally considering socio-scientific and economic methods. Technological considerations are also supplemented by design-scientific theories. This illustrates the interdisciplinary orientation of the project, which is divided into three core research areas:

Core Research Area I: Overall System Evaluation

Developing valuation methods for energy systems and air traffic scenarios with regard to problems from the fields of technology, business and humanities, sets the greater research direction of the area. Both technology assessment and reflections on the interaction of aircraft and infrastructure are included into the development process of these methods. Finally, the objective is to generate simulation and optimization models which can be used for system analysis on one hand and which on the other hand are convenient for formulating concrete recommendations regarding design, organization and operation of airports and aviation systems. In this context, the consideration of noise reduction also plays an important role.

Core Research Area II: System Platforms

Assessment of technologies inside the aircraft itself forms the core issue of the research area. Besides others, concepts of decoupled propulsion that can lead to a reduction of fuel consumption are examined. Also the impact of these concepts on a decrease of noise pollution forms a research field of the area. Furthermore, the reduction of resistance in the fuselage and wing area is an object of investigation just like the generation of future energy storage and hybrid propulsion concepts. In addition, new manufacturing methods and structures with an inherent ability for modification are investigated using simulation models. This aims at ensuring the ability of transition and as a consequence of that, long system life cycles of transport aircrafts. In order to compensate detriments of electrical and hybrid systems, research on lightweight structures and redistribution of weight is executed as well.

Core Research Area III: Energy Supply

Vehicle energy systems, hybrid drive systems and completely regenerative concepts are examined and evaluated by the core research area Energy Supply. Also the integration of thermoelectric generators (TEG’s) into hot areas as well as the use of electrical ram-turbines (RAT) are examined. With regard to the study of cycle-based energy storage scenarios, the research area focuses on the analysis of liquid gas and synthetic high performance fuels from sustainable and renewable sources, solid electrolyte battery cells as electrical storage and low temperature fuel cells.

  last changed 21.11.2018
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