EADS's Electric Drive
1:45 PM on Jun 23, 2011
EADS Innovation Works, the technology research arm of the European aerospace giant, has been showcasing its work on electric propulsion at the Paris air show, spearheaded by its unveiling of the VoltAir concept:
VoltAir (Video: EADS)
While the battery-powered, superconducting-motor, shourded-propeller VoltAir is at least 20 years away, the EADS-supported all-electric Cri-Cri ultralight and hybrid-electric E-Star motor glider have been flying at the show.
The tiny single-seat Cri-Cri, developed by Aero Composites Saintonge and the Green Cri-Cri Association jointly with EADS, has no fewer than four battery-powered electric motors driving its twin contra-rotating propellers.
Cri-Cri (Photo: EADS)
The electric Cri-Cvri has accumulated more than 9 hours flying since its first flight at Le Bourget in September. Improvements in energy management have boosted the flight time to 30min from the initial 20min, and EADS says it should reach at least 35min.
The DA36 E-Star - developed by Siemens, Diamond Aircraft and EADS - is a Diamond HK36 Super Dimona motor glider modified with serial hybrid electric drive. A small Wankel engine from Austro Engines drives a generator to power a 70kW electric motor that drives the propeller. The aircraft first flew on June 8 in Vienna.
The combustion engine runs at a constant low output of 30kWA to drive the generator and recharge batteries. These are used to increase power during take-off and climb, when a converter supplies the electric motor with power from both the batteries and generator. The batteries are recharged in the cruise.
E-Star (Photo: Siemens)
“The first thing we want to do is test the technology in small
aircraft. In the long term, however, the drive system will also be used in large-scale aircraft," says Seimens' Dr Frank Anton. "We want to cut fuel consumption and emissions by 25%, compared to today’s most efficient technologies." It may be small, but it's a start on the road to the VoltAir.
awt, PAS11, propulsion