Electric Jetliner Closer Than First Imagined
When NASA talks about turboelectric distributed propulsion, it talks in terms of superconducting generators and motors in a hybrid wing-body concept aircraft it calls the N3-X. But there are other ways of approaching all-electric propulsion.
Empirical Systems Aerospace (ESAero), a small advanced-design house based in Pismo Beach, California, assumed superconducting technology when it produced a concept (below) for a 2030-35 timeframe turboelectric-powered 150-seat airliner, the ECO-150.
Designed to meet NASA's N+3-generation goals, which include a 60% reduction in energy consumption relative to the CFM56-powered 737-800, the ECO-150 features electrically driven fans embedded in the inboard wing sections, powered by mid-span turbogenerators supported by bracing struts attached to the tails. There are eight fan propulsors per side.
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