Enabel: Enabling aircraft Electrification

Abstract

Electric propulsion is an essential part of the future of aviation, as we aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, reduce airport noise, and reduce flying costs.

This project will bring together two aircraft companies and a university who all want to deliver and exploit electric flight. Already the companies have aircraft, either now or in development, capable of taking electric propulsion. Motor technology is now good enough to build viable aircraft, and batteries are heading that way -- although there's still a lot of debate about batteries, versus hybrid configurations, versus fuel cells. All of these however require us to learn how to achieve and operate safe aircraft.

To do that we need to build and fly three prototype aircraft, using these prototypes to develop best practices in design, flying, testing (both on the ground and in the air), and ultimately how to certify and integrate aircraft that can be used in the same way as current conventional aircraft. Additionally to that basic knowledge of how to operate, and train pilots and engineers to operate electric aircraft will be developed. We plan to do that by starting small -- with a basic single or 2-seat microlight aeroplane supplied by TLAC that will have a simple power system and fixed pitch propeller. The second stage will be a more complex 2-seat light aeroplane supplied by Flylight with a reconfigurable research (electrical and hybrid) power system and variable pitch propeller. This aeroplane we plan to certify developing and using airworthiness and flight test standards appropriate certified training aeroplanes.

In parallel with these, we'll be developing the ability to simulate, test and optimise electric propulsion using the powerplant test facilities at Cranfield University, who will be working with all partners to ensure the rigour and portability of everybody's solutions as well as providing its own expertise in aircraft design, powerplant testing, and flight testing. We will also use Cranfield and Sywell airports to understand the necessary infrastructure for supporting electric flight.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

The Light Aircraft Company Ltd £116,367 £ 81,457
 

Participant

Flylight Airsports Limited £117,003 £ 81,902
Cdo2 Limited, Mayfield £116,793 £ 81,755
Cranfield University, United Kingdom £149,814 £ 149,814

Publications

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