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Turbo-electric Propulsion: Perspectives from Rolls-Royce

Event Date: September 11, 2017
Speaker: David Loder
Speaker Affiliation: Electrical Engineer
Rolls-Royce North American Technologies
Time: 10:00am
Location: EE 317
Contact Name: Professor Scott Sudhoff
Priority: No
School or Program: Electrical and Computer Engineering
College Calendar: Show

Transportation electrification has become an increasingly important trend within the past two decades. Recently, electrified aviation is emerging as the latest component of this thrust. Electrification in the aerospace industry shares similar goals (e.g. improved efficiency and performance, reduced emissions, etc.) with automotive and other industries. However, the benefits of electrified propulsion are coupled with substantially different mechanisms relating to the underlying technologies of gas turbine energy conversion, and aerodynamic lift. These differences produce unique demands on the advancement of electrical power systems and components. For instance, many specific fuel consumption (SFC) benefits are gained at the aircraft level at the expense of increased weight and complexity of the propulsion system.

This talk will begin with an introduction on general concepts in aircraft propulsion, and the benefits associated with TeP. We will discuss several current and past projects at Rolls-Royce related to the demonstration and study of TeP systems. Finally, we will cover challenges posed to the electrical system by TeP, and the technology advancements being pursued to make these concepts a reality.


David Loder graduated with a BSEE from Purdue University in 2014, and a MSEE from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2016. His graduate research was centered on the holistic design of high-field superconducting electrical machines, targeting high power density applications. He has published related work in IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity, and has presented at several conferences including International Electric Machines and Drives (IEMDC) and Applied Superconductivity Conference (ASC).

Currently he resides in the Electrical Capability Group at Rolls-Royce North American Technologies in Indianapolis, and is engaged in various turbo-electric propulsion (TeP) projects spanning a broad spectrum of hardware prototyping and technology demonstration, to high-level concept and architecture studies. Recently this past year he has been a guest speaker at Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium (WEMPEC).