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Modular, scalable, multi-funtional, high power density power controller for electrical taxi

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - E-TSIN (Modular, scalable, multi-funtional, high power density power controller for electrical taxi)

Reporting period: 2020-04-01 to 2021-06-30

E-TSIN project is part of the global e-taxi program, one of the most important initiative at European levels for reduction of acoustic & environmental contamination around airport, and with contribution to reduce operational cost of single-aisle and regional a/c (aircraft) by reducing fuel consumption on ground.
It is very important to highlight that a/c are currently designed to optimize performances in flight. When an a/c is parked, a towing vehicle is needed to perform the pushback and other slow motion operations. Once that the a/c is in its required position, it can start-up its main engines and move forward by itself. Nevertheless, this movement on ground is very poor in efficiency, as produced indirectly by the main engines, needing high power to move the aircraft’s inertia. This implies high levels of fuel consumption, contamination (COx, NOx…) and noise.
However, due to the advances in power electronic technologies and energy storage devices, there is an opportunity to drastically improve the a/c efficiency on ground and, at the same time, reducing environmental and acoustic contamination. In addition, these advances can also enhance the global efficiency of the a/c (i.e. ground/flight performances, maintenance/operational costs, safety & reliability aspects, etc…).
Therefore, main objective of “E-TSIN project” is to develop a power supply and motor controller unit (MCU), for high power, high efficiency, based in new technologies and achieving a low weight-volume, but keeping at the same time, usual the a/c requirements of cost, operability, maintainability, S&R.
As conclusion of the project, we can say that a TRL6 development based in SiC, HVDC and 45kW have been achieved, and successfully tested & integrated with the eTAXI system.
During the first part of the project, several analyses of the SoA in power electronics components, topologies and control technics were done, to select the best design to comply with requirements of Weight, Volume, Scalability, S&R and Feasibility for future TRL increase and potential future integration in real a/c.
Initial simulation model was done and simulated, which was evolved to the different configurations and designs, and finally stated in a dedicate deliverable.
During this first stage, also several pre-prototypes, based in previous experiences were used to validate control techniques. Analyses of power scalability & modularity vs performances & integration aspects was also done.
For the second part of the project, a baseline for the development of a TRL3 design and prototype was done.
Moreover, this TRL3 design was validated in isolation, but also tested & integrated with the rest of the eTAXI system under development, as motor, mechanical interfaces and eTAXI system controller simulator.
The second part of the integration activities and recollection of data were part of the third period of the project. After validation and verification of the TRL3 design, a new baseline for TRL6 design was targeted.
So, the third part of the project consisted in the optimization of the design to achieve a TRL6 maturity at the end of the project, including complete new development, new prototypes manufacturing, testing & integration with the rest of the system. This final part that was started at the end of the third reporting period and it was extended along the fourth reporting period and up to the end of the project.
V&V actions were performed over all prototypes generated (pre-prototypes for modular approach, MCU-TRL3 and MCU-TRL6) and also integration activities with the rest of eTAXI items (electrical motors & wheel actuator, eTAXI controller-simulator, energy storage elements,…) in several test benches.
Finally, some pre-qualification tests were performed using MCU-TRL6, although some EMI tests were performed in advance with MCU-TRL3 to de-risk this very important activity.
Development & verification of 3 designs are considered the main results (TRL3 based in modular approach, TRL3-5 with fixed topology and power, and finally a TRL6 development, based in design improvement and previous lesson learnt and taking into account INDRA experience in real aeronautical developments, integration and functional requirements for the eTAXI program and for future a/c).
Main technological items applied & successfully achieved in the E-TSIN project, were:
- Assessment and use of new Wide Bandgap Semiconductors” (WBG), with SiC devices integrated.
- Great benefits in power density but maintaining requirements of safety, reliability & operatively expected for the aircraft.
- Modularity & scalability concepts studied for future applications in other platforms and vehicles.
- Prototypes developed and tested in three levels of maturity & functionality.
- Functionality achieved in different behaviour modes.
- Integration achieved and backup solutions applied.
- Pre-qualification done over final prototypes and perspectives for future maturity plan.
But also, it is important to comment about project management objectives that:
- Project successfully finalized and with very nice expectative for technology and product advances and new opportunities
- All this achieved despite very technical difficulties, due to the project challenges and high impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally to the participation in different conferences and congress, 3 different papers where published at the end of the project.
These results will be exploited in the future by integration in real aircraft prototype and then integrated in the baseline of future aircrafts. The Consortium will be also work in parallel for application of this technology in other platform by using knowledge generated and synergies.
As a result of the analysis of the SoA of new power electronic components, topologies and control techniques; a topology based in new SiC devices was selected. This allowed a reduction of the weigh-volume ratio of the first prototype vs Si-IGBTs technology. Proposed EMI/EMC requirements (for future a/c) were also very important and having a significant impact on the design, due to the high dV/dt in SiC devices and leading to increase weight/volume (by adding filters inside units using SiC devices).
Also, control of new motors, requiring special performances was a challenge, and requiring adaptation in specifications and design, in order to comply with the future safety requirements and potential future a/c integration feasibility.
All the knowledge and lessons learnt gotten and applied during this project, will allow this European Consortium to be in a confident and privileged position for the future industrial development and implementation of the eTaxi. This consortium, along with the help of SAFRAN (as Topic Manager) and Clean Sky JU, has worked in a very professional and confident way to reach the objectives set by the E-TSIN Grant Agreement.
An example of this transversal collaboration has been the flexibility of the consortium to adapt to the necessary changes in the specifications, as well as the commitment and availability of resources to complete all the tasks within the E-TSIN project, as well as with other dependent projects.
This has produced a mature and confident relationship between the different parties to continue the work in future collaborations and potential future industrial developments and exploitation, not only within the aviation sector in Europe, but at a global level.
Figure-2 Modular pre-prototypes used for parallel control validation and power architecture selectio
Figure-5: Image of the fourth MCU-TRL6 prototypes used for verification, integration and pre-qualifi
Figure-10: Integration tests phase-III in INDRA facilities.
Figure-1: Simulation model of the control rules being used in the E-TSIN project.
Figure-9: Integration tests phase-II in external facilities.
Figure-12: Consortium and entities logos.
Figure-7: Pre-Integration tests of the MCU-TRL6.
Figure-11: Pre-qualification tests at INDRA facilities.
Figure-8 Integration tests phase-I in external facilities.
Figure-6: Pre-Integration tests of the MCU-TRL3 with “e-taxi” simulator.
Figure-0: E-TSIN project logo.
Figure-4: Images of the E-TSIN MCU TRL3 development (power loses map, thermal development tests, ele
Figure-3: Example of analyses done in the first part of the project, as required power demand, elect
Figure-13: Safran Electrical Taxiing concept.