NASA Funds All-Electric Aircraft Research

Artist’s rendering of Transport Aircraft.
Artist’s rendering of an advanced commercial transport aircraft concept utilizing CHEETA systems.

The University of Illinois is leading a NASA-funded project to develop an all-electric aircraft. The project, called the Center for Cryogenic High-Efficiency Electrical Technology for Aircraft (CHEETA), focuses on electrically driven propulsion systems for commercial aircraft.

Hydrogen chemical energy is converted to electrical energy through a series of fuel cells, which drive the ultra-efficient electric propulsion system. The low-temperature requirements of the system provide opportunities to use superconducting, or lossless, energy transmission and high-power motor systems.