Design and Analysis of the Thermal Management System of a Hybrid Turboelectric Regional Jet for the NASA ULI Program


A team of researchers from multiple universities are collaborating on the demonstration of a hybrid turboelectric regional jet for 2030 under the NASA ULI Program. The thermal management is one of the major challenges for the development of such an electric propulsion concept. Existing studies hardly modeled the thermal management systems with the propulsion systems nor integrated it to the aircraft for system- and mission-level analyses. Therefore, it is very difficult to verify whether a design of the thermal management system is feasible and optimal based on current literature. To fill this gap, this paper presents a design of the thermal management system for the hybrid turboelectric regional jet under the ULI program and integrates it to the aircraft. The TMS is tested against the cooling requirements, where the thermal loads from the electric propulsion system are quantified through the whole mission. Potential solutions for peak thermal loads during takeoff and climb are also proposed and analyzed, where additional coolant or phase change materials are used. Moreover, the impacts of the TMS on the system- and mission-level performance are investigated by the presented integration approach as well. It is discovered that a basic oil-air thermal management system cannot fully remove the heat during the early mission segments. Using additional coolant or phase change materials as heat absorption can handle such heating problem, but penalty due to additional weight is added. It is found that greater penalties in fuel burn and takeoff weight are added by additional coolant solution than the phase change material solution.

AIAA/IEEE Electric Technologies Symposium 2020