Plug-in Hybrid Electric Micro Air Vehicles
In all-electric micro air vehicles (MAVs), the propulsion power comes from advanced electrical power sources, such as batteries, fuel cells, and hybrid energy storage systems. Although there have been substantial advancements in advanced power sources, all-electric MAVs still suffer from limited range and reliability. There are research groups worldwide, including several research labs at McMaster University, focused on developing advanced batteries, fuel cells, and hybrid energy storage systems (combined Li-ion batteries, ultra-capacitors, and fuel cells) for such applications. However, there has not been much research done in hybridizing the propulsion systems of air vehicles to develop the concept of hybrid electric aircraft (HEA).
There is already a paradigm shift in land vehicles from combustion engines to hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric powertrains. The Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Hybrid Powertrain Program is at the forefront of the research in this area. In addition, we have strong research programs in advanced power sources, engines, flow control, and GPS enabled autonomous vehicles at McMaster University.
This project has a multi-disciplinary team to develop the concept of plug-in hybrid electric micro air vehicles (PHE-MAV) with off-board (plug-in) charging capabilities. The proposed PHE-MAV will not only have a hybrid energy storage system, but also benefit from an advanced hybrid propulsion system. The proposed PHE-MAV is expected to significantly improve range and reliability compared to the current MAVs.
The optimum choice of the system hybridization includes complex trade-offs between the engine and electric propulsion system combined with performance, maneuverability, fuel economy, and energy storage