‘POA’ project wraps up validation phase
The final meeting of the Aircraft Systems Validation Rig (ASVR) component of the EU-funded POA project took place at the Hispano-Suiza headquarters in Colombes, near Paris, on 12-13 December 2006. The POA project is seeking to improve the efficiency and safety of aircraft systems.
Conventional aircraft architectures comprise a combination of systems dependent on mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic and electrical sources. These systems do not typically consume or distribute power efficiently, a problem that grows more acute with rising on-board operational and passenger demands for electrical energy.
The POA (Power Optimised Aircraft) project is looking for novel ways of generating, distributing, and using onboard aircraft power. Its ultimate goal is to achieve a ‘more electrical aircraft’ that better distributes power and uses it only when needed.
“Our specific concern has been to optimise the consumption of kerosene fuel, in all areas except engine thrust,” explains Hispano-Suiza’s ASVR coordinator Jean-Yves Routex. “By switching more aircraft systems and sub-systems to electrical power, we expect to save energy, and this could ultimately lead to reduced flight costs. We also see potential improvements in aircraft safety and comfort.”
The optimised, full electric aircraft architecture would eliminate the need for a mechanical gearbox, while equipment such as the cabin air conditioning system and the flight controls would use more electrical power.
POA project partners (46) represent the full aeronautics industrial spectrum, including Airbus, Alenia Aeronautica, DLR, Hispano-Suiza, Liebherr-Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, Snecma, Thales Avionics Electrical Systems and Goodrich Actuation Systems.
Hispano-Suiza is a major aeronautical equipment supplier and was responsible for the POA ‘validation of integration and optimisation’ phase. “We used modular integration platforms and the latest modelling and simulation methods,” explained Routex. A completely new integration methodology for aircraft equipment systems encompassed:
- Multi-level modelling and simulation
- Functional verification
- Electrical characterisation
- Integration to the power network
- Integration validation and verification
- Installation on the final test bench/platform
“We are very happy with the results of the ASVR,” said Routex. “The objectives we set out included a reduction of peak non-propulsive power by 25%, reduction of total non-propulsive power and reduction of fuel consumption by 5%. We have now demonstrated quite clearly that these goals are achievable.”
EU Project Officer Hans-Josef Von Den Driesch emphasised the importance of the POA project. “This is the first time this new type of technology, aimed at developing a more electrical aircraft, has been tested at the level of the aircraft, combining all the relevant components. This has meant putting together a large consortium that could contribute the required expertise in a number of areas.”
“We faced some real technical and programmatic challenges and, over the course of two years, we managed to remain focused and we got the job done,” said Routex.