Efficient Auxiliary Power Unit for Aircraft

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) sponsored a team of students to develop a light-weight, efficient auxiliary power unit (APU) based on commercial off-the-shelf components. This task is designed to explore how to improve APU efficiency while minimizing system weight. It could also provide a system concept that enables US Air Force remotely piloted aircraft to provide additional electrical power for new payloads. In addition, the project is based on use of a particular small internal combustion engine as the means of producing electrical power.

Team CHAP (Custom High Altitude Power) designed an APU from scratch using a Briggs & Stratton Junior 206 Engine, an American Power Systems 28V 270A vehicle alternator, a Performance Electronics Engine Control Unit, an Ecotrons Electronic Fuel Injection kit, and a complex custom-designed electrical system to measure and dissipate electrical power output. In addition, a combination of sensors, gauges, and manual controls make for an easily monitored and controlled system. The finished product provides a system capable of reliable high power output and enables increased control over efficiency.

In addition to providing the AFRL with a functional concept design and prototype, the completed APU overcomes various challenges inherent in an APU utilizing a combustion engine and producing high electrical power output. The APU’s performance provides data for comparison with other APU concepts and enables the AFRL to explore efficiency limits using reliable hardware.

School Year (term): 
2015-2016
Sponsor: 
Air Force Research Laboratory
Team Name: 
CHAP - Custom High Altitude Power
Coach: 
Jerry Bowman
Team Members: 
Chris Nance, Darren Shipley, Jordan Hatch, Ben Eckery, Steve Bean, Eric Magleby

Brigham Young University - Provo | Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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