Airbus, the civil aircraft manufacturer, and Siemens, the largest engineering company in Europe, have recently announced that they will be collaborating in order to create electrically-powered airplanes. Both companies will be teaming up to form a group of 200 engineers who will be focusing on the development of electric propulsion for aircrafts, enabling such aircrafts to carry up to 100 passengers.
The Chief Executive Offices of both companies, Joe Kaeser and Tom Enders, have collectively launched a joint project in order to promote the electrification of aviation. The goal of this project is to demonstrate and clearly illustrate the technical possibility of a variety of electric and hybrid propulsion systems by 2020.
“Electric and electric-hybrid flight represent some of the biggest industrial challenges of our time, aiming at zero-emissions aviation,”said the CEO of Airbus Group, Tom Enders.
“The progress we have achieved in this arena, together with our industrial and governmental partners, in only a few years is breath-taking, culminating in last year’s channel crossing of our all-electric E-Fan aircraft. Big thanks today particularly to the Bavarian Government and Minister Aigner for their support here in Ottobrunn.”
Currently, there has been an increase of electrical propulsion systems that are being used on smaller jet aircrafts. Difficulty arises though when applying similar technology to larger jet aircrafts; larger aircrafts require more power in order to manage and maintain sufficient power storage as well as high electrical loads onboard in order to run the machines.
According to Aerotime, “Hybrid-electric propulsion systems can significantly reduce fuel consumption of aircraft and reduce noise. European emissions targets aim for a 75 percent reduction of CO2 emissions by 2050 compared to the values for the year 2000. These ambitious goals cannot be achieved by conventional technologies.”
The Airbus Group and Siemens have made plans to collaborate in order to develop prototypes of a variety of propulsion systems with power capabilities ranging from around 100 kilowatts up to 10 or more megawatts. These power classes allow for local, short trips on aircrafts with less than 100 seats, unmanned aerial vehicles, or helicopters for short and medium range distances.