Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


SEPDC — Result In Brief

Project ID: 287098
Funded under: FP7-JTI
Country: France

Smart power distribution in More Electrical Aircraft

The transition to electrical aircraft power architectures is drastically reducing aircraft mechanical complexity. A novel electrical distribution centre allowing the smart connection of electrical loads and sources to the electrical test bench (ETB) can accelerate by tenfold validation of new technologies.
Smart power distribution in More Electrical Aircraft
Although aircraft with electric engines are some way off, More Electrical Aircraft (MEA) are here thanks to major advances made on the EU scale to replace hydraulic and pneumatic systems.

The Copper Bird® electrical test bench (ETB) was created in 2002 to validate innovative architectures and equipment as selected by aircraft manufacturers in their research into MEA. As part of the Clean Sky programme, SEPDC (Smart electrical power distribution centre) was initiated in 2011 to deliver the electrical power centre (EPC) for this existing European ETB.

The newly developed EPC features a smart grid by integrating advanced sensing technologies, control methods and communications to be able to accommodate different generation, storage and load options. The EPC architecture evolves into networks in which the busbars become active and intelligent, with a vast number of system parts communicating and influencing each other.

In particular, the EPC can be adapted to different voltage configurations and is tolerant to faults for more reliability. In addition, it can also easily accept other components which make up an aircraft electrical system and can be integrated in a centralised control system. Use of Racks provides a highly configurable interface connecting sources and loads to the busbars, and the busbars to themselves. High-power switching elements housed in each Rack allow equipment to be easily connected and disconnected to and from the busbars through user commands.

The SEPDC allows the ETB to evaluate many state-of-the-art technologies for future use on MEA. Technologies include the electric thrust reverser actuation system, the electric brake actuation controller for Boeing 787, the electric back-up mechanical actuator, and electrical engine starting.

By bringing high levels of configurability to the ETB, this smart electrical power distribution centre allows aircraft manufactures conduct verification activities over different aircraft electrical architectures for Green Regional Aircraft, Green Business Jets and Green Rotorcraft. By speeding up validation and evaluation processes, it retains European aerospace sector competitiveness by shortening time to market of new innovative aircraft technologies.

Related information


More electrical aircraft, distribution of electrical energy, electrical test bench, power distribution centre, energy system management, HVDC
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