Research Team Develops Hybrid Propulsion Commercial Electric Aircraft

A UConn team and fellow research partners are designing a carbon-neutral energy storage and power generation system that could serve as an alternative for aircraft propulsion.

The proposed system will consist of optimally sized fuel-to-electric power conversion devices (fuel cells and turbogenerators) using carbon-neutral SAF. Batteries will provide additional electrical power to the aircraft during the power-hungry climb phase of a flight and be recharged during descent.

Senior Design engineering students are currently building a small-scale airplane to demonstrate the concept.

The project, titled “High Performance Metal-Supported Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) System for Range Extension of Commercial Aviation” is supported by a $4.5M cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) under its Range Extenders for Electric Aviation with Low Carbon and High Efficiency (REEACH) Program. This grant will support Phase II of the project over a two-year period.

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