Laboratory for Electric Aircraft Design and Sustainability

Led by Prof. Matthew Clarke in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign



The aviation industry has set ambitious goals of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 through a roadmap that includes improved flight operations and new aircraft powered by batteries, fuel cells, and biofuels. A limited understanding of these emerging technologies, however, has plagued their integration into propulsion architectures. Additionally, many implications stemming from introducing entire fleets of these aircraft on grid-energy infrastructure and communities below have yet to be thoroughly distilled. My research group - the Laboratory for Electric Aircraft Design and Sustainability (L.E.A.D.S) uses experimental and computational modeling of complex systems to understand the relationships between novel aerospace systems and the environment, particularly concerning energy and noise emissions. These research endeavors strategically position L.E.A.D.S to decode some of the technical challenges that emanate from the interactions between the critical sub-components, develop architectures that meet aircraft certification reliability specifications, and address the environmental and socioeconomic implications that impede progress toward sustainable aviation.

Electrochemical Energy Storage Systems

Aircraft Noise and Aeroacoustics

LEADS Sustainable Aviation Technology Dashboard Live!

Developed by the Lab for Electric Aircraft Design and Sustainability (LEADS) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the Sustainable Aviation Technology Dashboard is a platform to examine the integration of new batteries, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and hydrogen propulsion technologies into future aircraft systems and assess their broader impact on society.

Lab Construction Begins! 

We have started to build out a comprehensive testing facility to pursue research in aircraft electrification! 

L.E.A.D.S. in the News

Recent Publications


Shekar, Sai Sankalp, and Matthew Clarke. "Design and In-Flight Analysis of an Electric Aircraft's Battery Thermal Management System." Manuscript in Preparation for 2024 IEEE Transportation Electrification Conference & Expo (ITEC)


Clarke, M., "An Open-Source Framework For Modeling Aircraft Noise In Urban Environments",  AIAA Aviation Forum. San Diego, CA, Jun. 2023 

Keeping up To Date

To keep up to date with our latest publications, workshops, and open-source software, you can: