Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens team up

Posted on 06 Jan 2018 and read 893 times
Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens team up Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens have formed a partnership to develop a flight demonstrator that will be a “significant step forward in hybrid-electric propulsion for commercial aircraft”.

It is anticipated that the E-Fan X hybrid-electric technology demonstrator will fly in 2020 (following a comprehensive ground-test programme), provisionally on a BAe 146 ‘flying test-bed’, with one of the aircraft’s four gas turbine engines replaced by a 2MW electric motor.

"Provision will be made to replace a second gas turbine with an electric motor, “once system maturity has been proven”.

Paul Eremenko, Airbus’s CTO, said: “The E-Fan X is the next step in our goal of making electric flight a reality in the foreseeable future.

"The lessons we learned from a long history of electric flight demonstrators and the E-Aircraft Systems House collaboration with Siemens, will pave the way to a hybrid single-aisle commercial aircraft that is safe, efficient and cost-effective.

"We see hybrid-electric propulsion as a compelling technology for the future of aviation.”

The E-Fan X demonstrator will explore the challenges of high-power propulsion systems, such as thermal effects, electric thrust management, altitude and dynamic effects on electric systems and electromagnetic-compatibility

The programme also aims to establish the requirements for future certification of electrically powered aircraft while training a new generation of designers and engineers to bring hybrid-electric commercial aircraft one step closer to reality.

As part of the E-Fan X programme, Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens will each contribute their extensive experience and know-how in their respective fields of expertise.

Airbus will be responsible for overall integration (as well as the control architecture) of the hybrid-electric propulsion system and batteries, and its integration with flight controls.

Rolls-Royce will be responsible for the turbo-shaft engine, 2MW generator, and power electronics. Along with Airbus, Rolls-Royce will also work on the fan adaptation to the existing nacelle and the Siemens electric motor.

Siemens will provide the 2MW electric motors and their power electronic control unit, as well as the inverter, DC/DC converter, and power distribution system.

Among the top challenges for today’s aviation sector is to move towards a means of transport — with improved environmental performance — that is more efficient and less reliant on fossil fuels.

The partners say they are committed to meeting the EU technical environmental goals of the European Commission’s Flightpath 2050 Vision for Aviation (reduction of CO2 by 75%, reduction of NOx by 90% and noise reduction by 65%).

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