An Adaptive-Configuration Control System for Aircraft Thermal and Energy Management System

Period of Performance: 08/08/2013 - 05/06/2014


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Creare, Inc.
16 Great Hollow Road Array
Hanover, NH 03755
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: Hybrid technologies and adaptive resource management can significantly enhance the capability and range of next-generation aircraft. To implement this strategy, we propose to develop a control system to configure the Adaptive Power and Thermal Management System (APTMS) based on the subsequent flight profile to enable the APTMS to use the most appropriate cooling system(s), heat sink(s), and energy source(s) to maximize the aircraft capability while minimizing fuel consumption. Based on the planned flight profile, the control system employs reduced-order physical models to forecast the cooling power, heat rejection rate, energy consumption, and dynamic response of the APTMS with a given configuration. Based on these predicted resource requirements, the system will then optimize the configurations for the remaining flight periods to maximize performance objectives. In Phase I, we will prove the feasibility of our approach by developing a control system for a simplified APTMS, demonstrate its ability to dynamically optimize the operation configuration of this subsystem, and show the benefits of technology hybridization and adaptive resource utilization. In Phase II we will design, build, and demonstrate the software for the complete control system and deliver it to the Air Force for further evaluation and integration with an actual hardware system. BENEFIT: The proposed control system will enable future aircraft to fully realize the performance benefits of adaptive energy and thermal management, and enhance the capability and range of aircraft. In the near term, the control system will support the demonstration of the Integrated Vehicle Energy Technology (INVENT) program at the Air Force. In the long term, the control system will significantly enhance the static and dynamic performance of aircraft thermal management systems while reducing the overall vehicle fuel consumption. Commercial applications include more-electric aircraft, air-conditioning systems, and thermal management systems for electronics and computer systems.