Application of SMES-FCL in electric aircraft for stability improvement

Alafnan, Hamoud and Elshiekh, Mariam and Pei, Xiaoze and Altouq, Shadan and Fazeli, Seyed Mahdi and Sun, Qixing and Zhang, Min and Yuan, Weijia (2019) Application of SMES-FCL in electric aircraft for stability improvement. IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity, 29 (5). 5000906. ISSN 1051-8223 (

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The increase in aircraft passengers and airfreight traffic has given rise to concerns about greenhouse gas emissions for traditional aircraft and the resulting damage to the environment. This has led several companies and organizations, including NASA, to set goals to enhance aircraft efficiency as well as reduce fuel burn, pollution, and noise for commercial aircraft. The most notable electric aircraft (EA) concept is the N3-X, which was developed by NASA to achieve environmental goals while maintaining the annual growth of the aviation industry. However, one of the main challenges that EA is facing is their overall weight. This paper proposes and explores an improved power system architecture for use in EA, based on the N3-X concept. The number of superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) and fault current limiter (FCL) devices required can be reduced by utilizing multifunctional superconducting devices that combine the functionalities of both a SMES and a FCL, thus reducing the weight and cost of the EA by eliminating a complete device. The proposed control technique offers greater flexibility in determining the appropriate size of coils to function as a FCL, based on the fault type. The proposed EA power system architecture including the SMES-FCL devices is modelled in Simulink/MATLAB to test the system performance under different failure scenarios.


Alafnan, Hamoud, Elshiekh, Mariam, Pei, Xiaoze, Altouq, Shadan, Fazeli, Seyed Mahdi, Sun, Qixing, Zhang, Min ORCID logoORCID: and Yuan, Weijia ORCID logoORCID:;