A novel hybrid propulsion system configuration and power distribution strategy for light electric aircraft

Shuangqi Li, Chenghong Gu, Pengfei Zhao, Shuang Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (SciVal)
91 Downloads (Pure)


Similar to the electrification of the automotive industry, the growing concerns with the shortage of fossil fuels has also called for a paradigm shift in aviation industry. To promote the aviation electrification process, it is necessary to develop an efficient energy storage system and a stable power transmission system to improve the reliability and extend the endurance of electric aircraft. This paper designs a novel propulsion system topology and power distribution algorithm for light manned electric aircraft. Firstly, a novel aircraft hybrid propulsion system topology is designed, in which the battery energy storage system can work synergistically with the fuel cell to provide power to the aircraft electric engine. Then, an adaptive energy management framework is developed to distribute the aircraft power requirement between energy storage devices. Meanwhile, an aircraft power balance state recognizer is designed to enhance the dynamic performance of the aircraft and adjust the working state of the propulsion system. The proposed hybrid propulsion system configuration and power distribution algorithm are verified under a prototype two-seater electric aircraft: Alpha Electro. Numerical analysis results indicate that the developed methods can dynamically meet the power requirement of aircraft under fast-charging and peak power requirement scenarios. With the developed hybrid propulsion system, most of the fuel cell high-power working points are moved to the medium and low area, which indicates that the fuel cell is effectively protected. Furthermore, the quantified hydrogen consumption can be reduced by 7.63% comparing to fuel cell electric aircraft.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114171
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Early online date24 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2021


  • Electric propulsion
  • Energy management
  • Hybrid propulsion system
  • Light electric aircraft
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Transportation electrification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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