Paris Air Show 2011 hosts the world’s aircraft with a hybrid electric drive in its belly

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Posted in Transports | Posted on 22-06-2011

Electric Aircraft

The Paris Air Show Le Bourget 2011 has all the makings of a rip-roaring event with new additions coming up as often as not. Even as reports of a hypersonic jet making it to the event hold on to a big public frenzy, here comes another revelation: Siemens AG, Diamond Aircraft and EADS will be coming up with the world’s first air-carrier that boasts of a serial hybrid electric drive system. The two-seater motor glider came well through its paces in a test flight conducted at the Wiener Neustadt airfield, Vienna on June 8.

The hybrid electric drive concept, brought forth by the three big giants shall cut down on fuel consumption and emissions by 25 percent when pitted against the current line of air-carriers. In order to electrify the drive system, Siemens and its two other alliances look to incorporate DA36 E-Star motor glider, the alpha-tests for which are currently on. To make the move sound just right, Dr. Frank Anton, the initiator of electric aircraft development at Siemens had this to say: “A serial hybrid electric drive can be scaled for a wide range of uses, making it highly suitable for aircraft as well.”

Siemens further posits that the technology is well-suited to be deployed on all aircraft types—small, medium and large. Initially though, it will be tested on smaller air-carriers before taking to the big roaring machines on larger birds.

The motor glider is picked from Diamond Aircraft’s HK36 Super Dimona, the only aircraft of its kind to have one. The plane’s propeller buzzes on a 70kW electric motor from Siemens. A midget engine from Austro comes in with the power thrust produced by a small generator intelligently drafted within the design. Then there is a Siemens converter to power the motor by linking it up with the battery and the generator.

The fuel consumption of the system is extremely low, with combustion engines always churning at a low output of 30kW. The battery set up comes from EADS and is quite a thing especially during takeoffs and climb. The accumulator gets recharged in the cruising phase and overall, it adds to the aircraft’s capabilities to cover long distances with scrimpy fuel consumption.

mfr tech

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