Aircraft Electric Propulsion

Roelof Vos, Christophe Schram

Research output: Book/ReportBook editingScientific


The fulfilment of the ACARE 2050 objectives in terms of an improved mobility while protecting the environment will not be achieved without the introduction of radically new ideas. The electrification of aircraft propulsion systems is one of such disruptive concepts that is gradually enabled by recent technological progress in power electronics for the storage, transmission and recuperation of electric power. Besides, it opens interesting perspectives for the integration of distributed propulsion systems around the airframe, seen as a promising avenue to increase the effective by-pass ratio and reduce fuel consumption. But a tighter integration of the propulsion system within the airframe introduces also novel issues in terms of propulsive efficiency and noise emissions, that must be accounted for in a holistic design process.

In parallel with the ever-increasing growth of civil air transport, the world has seen an unexpectedly fast development of a new paradigm: Urban Air Mobility and Personal Air Vehicles. In good part based on the successful deployment of drones for defence and professional applications, a number of companies are exploring very disruptive flying concepts. Considering the diversity of architectures (multi-copter, fixed wing, thrust vectoring, tilt rotors, single vs. tandem rotors, etc.), involving complex and largely unexplored aerodynamic and aeroacoustic installation effects, new design rules and methods are needed and have started being developed in the recent years.

The objective of the course is to address from a multi-disciplinary perspective the various attributes that are affected by the hybrid or full electrification of small and large aircraft: architectural and aerodynamic design, propulsion systems, operational costs and safety, noise generation and power systems. Some of the socio-economical aspects associated with the advent of novel mobility paradigms are considered as well, together with the regulatory and certification issues that are accompanying those changes.


  • Electric propulsion
  • aircraft design
  • Hybrid electric propulsion


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