Integration of Hybrid-Electric Propulsion Systems in Small Unmanned Aircraft

Jacob Sliwinski, Alessandro Gardi, Matthew Marino, Roberto Sabatini

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Conventional transport aircraft propulsion technology revolves around the use of petroleum-based internal combustion engines, in the form of either aviation turbine fuel or aviation gasoline. Some non-mainstream propulsion technologies are expected to mitigate considerably the environmental impacts in aviation. The integration of hybrid-electric technologies exploits the synergies with distributed propulsion configurations and is therefore one of the most promising approaches to introduce new more sustainable forms of propulsion. This chapter focuses on piston engines and electric motors for light aviation use. It also focuses on a hybrid-electric propulsion system (HEPS) retrofit for remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS). Critical parameters for HEPS considered are flight endurance, range, and velocity required to perform such RPAS missions as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. The chapter explores the use of HEPS specifically implementing a battery and fossil fuel cell combination.

Original languageBritish English
Title of host publicationSustainable Aviation Technology and Operations
Subtitle of host publicationResearch and Innovation Perspectives
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781118932599
ISBN (Print)9781118932582
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • aircraft propulsion technology
  • aviation gasoline
  • aviation turbine fuel
  • combustion engines
  • fossil fuel cell combination
  • hybrid-electric propulsion system
  • piston engines
  • remotely piloted aircraft systems


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