Electrical Storage and Power Generation for Commercial Electric Aircraft


  • Trevor Kramer
  • Rory Roberts
  • Jeff Webster


A hybrid Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) gas turbine cycle is being suggested to provide sufficient power generation on an electric aircraft. A Boeing 737 style commercial aircraft is estimated to require ~28 MW of electrical power for stable flight and operation. Electric ducted fans will serve as the propulsion for the aircraft with bio-liquefied natural gas (BIO LNG) serving as the fuel and coolant for the thermal management system. A Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Combustor (SOFCC) will take the place of the combustor in a traditional power generating Brayton Cycle. The tubular SOFC stack will operate in a counter-flow configuration allowing the anode off gas to combust with the compressed air and preheat the cathode air in the SOFC stack. The power density and efficiency are tracked when the cycle is modified to include post combustion of SOFCC exhaust gas before the turbine inlet. A Turbo-generator - Lithium-Ion Battery Pack hybrid was also examined. This concept is more feasible for smaller, regional electric aircraft with a flight distance of around 300 miles. In this analysis, this concept was scaled up to compare with the performance of the SOFCC-GT concept.