Tests are underway on electric motors so planes can taxi without engine power
Honeywell and Safran are two companies working on a new system by which planes use their auxiliary power unit to power motors in the main wheels without more use of the engines. Planes use a great deal of fuel while taxiing, as this is not an efficient mode for the engines, designed for more full power. A significant % of total fuel is used on the ground – perhaps 3% depending on the flight. The team is currently focused on prototyping and component level testing prior to targeted system installation and ground testing in 2013.
Safran and Honeywell Commence Electric Green Taxiing System Testing
DUBAI, November 15, 2011 – Honeywell and Safran have commenced the first rolling tests for their electric green taxiing system.
The electric green taxiing system is designed to significantly improve airline operational efficiency and provide environmental benefits by slashing the carbon and other emissions created during runway taxi operations.
Using the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) generator to power motors in the main wheels, the system allows aircraft to taxi without requiring the use of aircraft engines. Each of the aircraft’s powered wheels is equipped with an electromechanical actuator, while unique power electronics and system controllers give pilots total control of the aircraft’s speed, direction and braking during taxi operations.
The expected benefits of this system include:
• Lower Fuel Burn – As taxi operations burn a significant amount of fuel—as much as five million tons of fuel per year for short-haul aircraft—the electric green taxiing system can result in savings of up to 4% of total block fuel consumption.
• Improved On Time Performance – Aircraft equipped with the system will be able to “pushback and go” more quickly, thus reducing both gate and tarmac congestion, improving on-time departure performance and saving valuable time on the ground.
• Greener Operation – The electric green taxiing system greatly reduces engine emissions, resulting in lower carbon taxes.
• Added Value – System operation eliminates the need for aircraft pushback and aircraft repositioning via tug tractor while also reducing brake wear, extending main engine life, enhancing ground crew safety, and reducing noise in the airport environment.
The initiative was first announced at the Paris Airshow in June 2011, where Honeywell and Safran signed a memorandum of understanding to create a joint venture company to deliver innovative new electric green taxiing system solutions for new and existing aircraft.
Yves Leclère, Safran Executive Vice President, Transformation said, “Safran’s extensive experience in integrated landing gear systems combined with Honeywell’s avionics and APU breadth is an ideal match for rapidly bringing to market an innovative solution which makes business and environmental sense for both airlines and airports.”
This initial series of tests, to be undertaken in Montpellier, France, on a recently acquired A320, will serve to evaluate runway conditions and calculate the necessary loads needed for moving the aircraft on ground. The team is currently focused on prototyping and component level testing, prior to targeted system installation and ground testing in 2013.
“Reducing fuel costs and maximizing operational efficiency are top priorities for our customers”, said John Bolton, President, Honeywell’s Air Transport and Regional business. “The start of the electric green taxi testing takes us one step closer to bringing this technology to market, and ultimately to helping to save our customers several hundred thousand dollars per aircraft per year.”
The system is particularly attractive for airlines that operate high cycle single aisle aircraft. Honeywell and Safran are targeting to offer the electric green taxiing system either on new aircraft or as a retrofit solution to in-service aircraft as early as 2016.
Safran is a leading international high-technology group with three core businesses: Aerospace (propulsion and equipment), Defence and Security. Operating worldwide, the Safran group has more than 54,000 employees and generated sales of 10.8 billion euros in 2010. Working alone or in partnership, Safran holds world or European leadership positions in its core markets. The Group invests heavily in Research & Development to meet the requirements of changing markets, including expenditures of 1.2 billion euros in 2010. Safran is listed on NYSE Euronext Paris and is part of the CAC Large 60 index. For more information: www.safran-group.com.
Honeywell’s aerospace business is a leading global provider of integrated avionics, engines, systems and service solutions for aircraft manufacturers, airlines, business and general aviation, military, space and airport operations.
Honeywell (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; automotive products; turbochargers; and specialty materials. Based in Morris Township, N.J., Honeywell’s shares are traded on the New York, London, and Chicago Stock Exchanges. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywellnow.com.
New technology tested to find if electric power can propel taxiing aircraft to a greener future
16 Dec 2011 (GreenAir online )
– The amount of fuel burnt by aircraft as they taxi to and from the runway, and the resulting emissions and impact on air quality at and around airports, are not inconsiderable and various technologies and operational measures have been applied to avoid engine use as much as possible.
New tests have just been carried out on systems that allow aircraft to taxi without requiring the use of aircraft engines. The first system, developed by a partnership involving L-3, Lufthansa and airport operator Fraport, with support from Airbus, integrates electric wheel drives into the main landing gear to propel the aircraft during ground operations.
The other, an initiative of Honeywell and Safran, uses the aircraft’s Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) generator to power motors in the main wheels. Both systems also eliminate the need for aircraft pushback and repositioning by tugs and have the added attraction of less noise in the airport environment.
L-3’s Vice President and Executive Program Manager, Joe Hoffman, cites studies that demonstrate single aisle aircraft can burn greater than 3% of total mission fuel during ground operations. The Safran/Honeywell team say short-haul aircraft can burn as much as five million tons of fuel per year and their electric green taxiing system could result in savings of up to 4% of total block fuel consumption.
In the Lufthansa test, high-performance electric motors were installed by Lufthansa Technik engineers on an Airbus A320 and subject to close scrutiny over a one-week period. The wheel-drive technology leverages the motors’ continuous torque and power density to propel the aircraft. Other modifications included the installation of an interface in the cockpit, changes to the power supply system through the APU and integration of a cooling system.
The ‘e-taxi’ demonstrator was then tested under standard conditions involving typical duty cycles that included aircraft pushback as well as taxiing. The partners say they will evaluate the data in order to make a decision on further development of a prototype.
“We are convinced that L-3’s Green Taxi system will provide materially significantly economic and environmental benefits to airplane operators and airport service providers,” said Hoffman.
The first rolling tests have started on the Safran/Honeywell electric green taxiing system, with initial tests taking place in Montpellier, France, on a recently acquired A320. This will serve to evaluate runway conditions and calculate the necessary loads needed for moving the aircraft on the ground. The team is currently focused on prototyping and component level testing prior to targeted system installation and ground testing in 2013.
Each of the aircraft’s powered wheels is equipped with an electromechanical actuator, while power electronics and system controllers give pilots total control of the aircraft’s speed, direction and braking during taxi operations.
Safran is bringing its landing gear expertise to the venture while Honeywell has considerable experience in avionics and APUs. The two partners say that not only does the technology offer fuel and environmental benefits but also improved on-time performance as aircraft equipped with the system will be able to “pushback and go” more quickly, thus reducing both gate and tarmac congestion.
The system, says Safran and Honeywell, will be particularly attractive for airlines that operate high-cycle single aisle aircraft and they are targeting to offer it either on new aircraft or as a retrofit solution to in-service aircraft as early as 2016.
“The start of electric green taxi testing takes us one step closer to bringing this technology to market, and ultimately to helping to save our customers several hundred thousand dollars per aircraft per year,” said John Bolton, President of Honeywell’s Air Transport and regional business.
and also at Airport International http://www.airport-int.com/news/electric-green-taxiing-system-airport-trials.html