EADS and Rolls Royce considering the concept of a hybrid electric-biofuel plane ??
EADS (European aerospace, defence etc) and Rolls Royce say they are developing the concept of the first “hybrid” airliner propelled by a combination of electricity, and algae- derived biofuel. They claim it would produce 75% less CO2 than a conventional airliner, and work in a similar way to hybrid cars, such as the Prius. While all electric planes would not be able, at best, to carry a couple of passengers, there might be the potential for hybrid planes to carry more. EADS’ “E-Thrust” project would give the plane propulsion by 6 electric fans along the back of its wings. Its engine (using liquid fuel, perhaps biofuel) would generate electrical power, which would be stored in a large lithium battery [the sort that caused the Dreamliner such problems with overheating] in the aircraft’s fuselage. The aim is for the plane to use liquid fuel plus battery power to take off and climb, and then for the battery to get some charge back while cruising. The plane would then glide in to land, generating more electrical energy to top up the battery for the extra power it will need for the landing. Many decades ahead, if it works at all?
eConcept – EADS’s Hybrid-Electric Airliner
Posted by Graham Warwick
Jun 24, 2013
Anxious to assure us it is not entirely anchored in the now by Airbus, EADS at Paris unveiled a distributed hybrid-electric propulsion concept it is working on with engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce. The idea is similar to the turboelectric distributed propulsion (TeDP) work under way at NASA. EADS Innovation Works has incorporated the initial E-Thrust distributed propulsion configuration into its eConcept vision for a 2050-timeframe airliner.
Concepts: EADS Innovation Works
The EADS IW concept uses a single large turbine engine to generate electricity to power six ducted fans that provide thrust. This allows propulsive and thermal efficiency to be optimized separately. The turbine engine can be optimized for thermal efficiency (turning fuel into shaft power) while the ducted fans increase effective bypass ratio and therefore propulsion efficient (turning shaft power into thrust).
The single turbine engine is embedded in the tail so that it ingests the fuselage boundary layer and re-energizes the wake to reduce drag. It has a long exhaust duct to minimize noise and allow for particle filtration. The electric fans have a combined bypass ratio exceeding 20:1 (more than twice today’s engines) and are integrated into the wing to reduce drag and noise.
As with NASA’s TeDP, superconductivity is key to the concept. The turbine engine drives a hub-mounted superconducting motor. Power is extracted, and cryogenic coolant is circulated through the motor, via structural stator vanes behind the fan that recover thrust from the swirling air.
EADS’s concept includes advanced lithium-air batteries for energy storage. For take-off and climb, the turbine and batteries power the ducted fans. In the cruise, the turbine powers the fans and recharges the batteries. During the gliding descent, the windmilling fans generate regenerative power to top up the batteries. On landing, the turbine powers the fans. At all times, the batteries have sufficient energy to power the aircraft if the turbine fails.
EADS IW, with Rolls-Royce and Cranfield University, is working on the Distributed Electrical Aerospace Propulsion (DEAP) project funded by the UK Technology Strategy Board. Rolls and EADS IW also are working with Magnifye and Cambridge University on a programmable alternating-current superconducting machine – described as a powerful, lighter and lower-loss design incorporating high-temperature superconducting coils embedded in a lightweight epoxy structure.
EADS Examines Electric And Hybrid Propulsion To Further Reduce Aircraft Emissions
Paris/Le Bourget,, 16 June 2013
Will electric propulsion become an alternative for fossil fuel also in the aviation industry? EADS is evaluating different approaches and is demonstrating a number of initiatives in the field of electric and hybrid propulsion at the Paris Air Show 2013. These projects are part of the Group’s commitment to develop technologies that further reduce aircraft carbon dioxide emissions.
The Group has not only developed and built an electric general aviation training aircraft in cooperation with Aero Composites Saintonge (ACS), called E-Fan but EADS has also engineered together with Diamond Aircraft and Siemens an updated hybrid electric motor glider, the Diamond Aircraft DA36 E-Star 2. EADS has also cooperated with Rolls-Royce on a smarter future distributed propulsion system concept. These three projects are known as ‘E-aircraft’ projects.
The development of innovative propulsion system concepts for future air vehicle applications is part of EADS’ research to support the aviation industry’s environmental protection goals as spelled out in the ‘Flightpath 2050’ report by the European Commission. This roadmap sets the target of reducing aircraft CO2 emissions by 75%, along with reductions of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) by 90% and noise levels by 65%, compared to standards in the year 2000. EADS Innovation Works (IW), the corporate research and technology network of EADS, is developing and continuing to explore innovations in the field of environmentally friendly propulsion, in order to provide technology bricks for the operating divisions.
E-Fan: electric aircraft in progress
Two years after the first electric aerobatic plane and the smallest manned aircraft in the world with four electric engines, the all-electric Cri-Cri, the teams at EADS IW and Royan-based ACS (Charente Maritime, France) have gone a step further with E-Fan, a fully electric general aviation training aircraft.
“The introduction of the E-Fan electric aircraft represents another strategic step forward in EADS’ aviation research. We are committed to exploring leading-edge technologies that will yield future benefits for our civil and defense products,” said Jean Botti, Chief Technical Officer (CTO), at EADS.
The two-seat E-Fan has undergone a very intensive development phase of only eight months. It features two electrical engines driving shrouded propellers. Total static engine thrust is about 1,5 kN, with the energy being provided by two battery packs located in the wings. The length of the aircraft is 6.7 meters with a wingspan of 9.5 meters. It is the first electric aircraft featuring ducted fans to reduce noise and increase safety. Another innovation is the main landing gear. It allows electrical taxiing on the ground without the main engines and in addition provides acceleration during take-off up to a speed of 60 km/h. To guarantee a simple handling of the electrically powered engines and systems, the E-Fan is equipped with an E-FADEC energy management system.
“We believe that the E-Fan demonstrator is an ideal platform that could be eventually matured, certified to and marketed as an aircraft for pilot training,” explained Botti. EADS IW is developing the electrical and propulsion system together with partners like ACS, which is building the all-composite structure, the mechanical systems and conducted the aerodynamic studies. The French innovation institutes CRITT Matériaux Poitou-Charentes (CRITT MPC) and ISAE-ENSMA, as well as the company C3 Technologies have been responsible for the construction and production of the wings. The engagement of these companies is also an investment in French infrastructure, jobs and know-how. Furthermore, electrical engineering experts from Astrium and Eurocopter helped out with their expertise in testing the battery packs while the livery was designed by Airbus. The E-Fan project is co-funded by the Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile (DGAC, the French civil aviation authority), the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER), the French Government (Fonds FRED), the Région Aquitaine and the Département Charente-Maritime of France.
World’s first serial hybrid electric aircraft, Diamond Aircraft DA36 E-Star 2, developed further
In addition to the development of the E-Fan, EADS is also demonstrating hybrid propulsion systems. One of them is in the Diamond Aircraft DA36 E-Star 2 motor glider first introduced at the Paris Air Show 2011. The two-seater has been updated with a lighter and more compact electric motor from Siemens, resulting in an overall weight reduction of 100kg. Electricity is supplied by a small Wankel engine from Austro Engine with a generator that functions solely as a power source. EADS IW prepared the battery packs, which are installed in the wings.
Propulsion gets smarter
Since 2012, EADS IW has been working together with Rolls-Royce within the Distributed Electrical Aerospace Propulsion (DEAP) project, which is co-funded by the UK’s Technology Strategy Board. The project researches key innovative technologies that will improve fuel economy and reduce exhaust gas and noise emissions by having a distributed propulsion system architecture. In this architecture, six electricallypowered fans are distributed in clusters of three along the wing span and housed with a common intake duct. An advanced gas power unit provides the electrical power for the fans and for the re-charging of the energy storage.
“The idea of distributed propulsion offers the possibility to better optimize individual components such as the gas power unit, which produces only electrical power, and the electrically driven fans, which produce thrust. This optimises the overall propulsion system integration,” explained Sébastien Remy, Head of EADS Innovation Works. “The knock-on effect we expect thanks to the improved integration of such a concept is to reduce the overall weight and the overall drag of the aircraft,” he said. During the Paris Air Show, EADS IW exhibits can be viewed at the EADS Pavilion at the end of chalet row A. CTO Jean Botti will conduct a Media Tour to explain the exhibits and technologies on Tuesday, 18 June at 13:30.
EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2012, the Group – comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of € 56.5 billion and employed a workforce of over 140,000.
Jean Botti, chief technical officer of EADS, said such an aircraft could be ready to take to the skies within 18 to 20 years.
The E-Thrust proposal is part of a project that has received £523,000 from the Technology Strategy Board, the government’s innovation agency, and has also involved engineers from Cranfield University in Bedfordshire.