Exergy optimal multi-physics aircraft microgrid control architecture

Document Type


Publication Date



Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


The more electric aircraft (MEA) concept aims to reduce emissions, fuel costs, and enable incorporation of electric weapon systems and advanced sensor platforms. These systems will further burden the electrical system due to the pulse like loading and require advanced control strategies and distributed energy storage systems to ensure stability. Furthermore, multi-physical coupling of thermal electrical systems are often compartmentalize and analyzed separately, forgoing congruency that could occur if analyzed together. Here, we study how exergy, the amount of useful energy throughout a system, can guide control design and system operation. A multi-physics networked microgrid model was developed of an aircraft with two generation sources, interconnecting power converters, a lumped thermal mass model and pulsed loading. The Hamiltonian Surface Shaping Power Flow Control (HSSPFC) strategy is applied to the electrical grid via idealized and distributed storage elements. The HSSPFC was first developed to solve a general, scalable, form a networked microgrid architecture and then applied to the specific aircraft model. Implementation of the HSSPFC requires an outer loop to balance installed generation and to manage storage. This was accomplished through an exergy optimal set point generation scheme that minimized exergy destruction in the power converters. Bus regulation of within 3% of the desired set point was achieved while servicing a 100 kW pulsed load. A tradeoff between optimization update rate and storage regulation was found to be limited by the algorithm execution speed. Increased optimization update rates were linked to reduced storage use and fewer transients in bus voltage. The thermal model was electrically coupled through pumping loads and by cooling the power electronics. Exergy optimal coolant pump operation was also studied. The minimal exergy and pump energy consumption were obtained by operating the coolant system near the upper temperature limit of the coolant, which minimized cooling electrical loads.

Publisher's Statement

© 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijepes.2019.105403

Publication Title

International Journal of Electrical Power & Energy Systems