Pipistrel Vertical Solutions had finalized the PMCD (Power Management, Control and Delivery) module software specifications in cooperation with the University of Ulm. A PMCD module is used to efficiently manage the power flow between different components in the drivetrain. In order to achieve this goal, a combination of switches, diodes, and fuses are used to connect the power generation components to the power consumption components. The main software functions of the PMCD are to regulate DC link voltage, control the power flow, CAN bus communication to the hardware interfaces, detect failures, in case of malfunctions (e.g.: battery failure) adapt a new power routing, report errors and warning conditions to HMI, and communicate and receive inputs from HMI (e.g. required power). There are additional software functions considered to optimize the module performance like monitoring of H2 tank/fuel tank, status of the fuel cell, status of the battery, inverter and motor, coolant temperature and ICE supervision. A PMCD module is now, with its state of the art power management strategy, capable of optimizing usage of different aircraft power sources, such as internal combustion engine, batteries and fuel cells.
The PMCD algorithm will also monitor the states of the components and take certain mitigation actions in case of a failure or warning state in one or more of the powertrain components. The mitigation actions will depend on the type of failure. For example, during a minor critical state such as reaching a low battery state of charge while in hybrid mode, the PMCD will send a caution signal to the pilot through the human-machine interface (HMI) screen. On the other hand, a major failure such as losing communication with the battery system while on hybrid mode, is treated by the PMCD disconnecting the battery and send a warning signal to the pilot in order to reduce the power demand.
The aim of the MAHEPA project is to show that flying hybrid is possible, sustainable and safe. PMCD module connects all these objectives by managing power sources most efficiently, thus having the capability of detecting and managing every power train failure.