The aviation sector is evolving steadily towards its commitment to achieve zero emissions. A challenge that is expected to be achieved in 2040, but that is already being addressed by advancing concepts such as the use of hydrogen or SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel), with the aim of making aviation sustainable and efficient.
The design and development of disruptive technological solutions around electrical power distribution systems is an essential part of the More Electrical Aircraft concept, to achieve greater aircraft efficiency.
In order to precisely explain the current situation of the aeronautical industry regarding sustainability, and to outline its short-term objectives, the Spanish Aerospace Platform has organized a conference in which Aertec has participated, along with other companies in the sector such as Airbus or ITP Aero. Sara Bellido, a Technical Aviation Engineer and Director of Business Development for Aertec’s Aerospace and Defence Systems department, has highlighted market trends around aircraft electrification, and the need to meet a much higher demand for electrical power. As a result, new challenges arise, such as working with high voltage direct current (HVDC) or overheating but complying with the demanding protection, insulation and cooling requirements. “The trend in electrification is to advance as much as possible in voltage levels, in order to reduce the wiring section and consequently the weight and resistive losses. To this end, we are mainly researching new solid-state transistors based on SiC and GaN devices,” says Sara Bellido.
AERTEC has been working for several years on the design and development of intelligent power distribution solutions and electrical systems that replace hydraulic or pneumatic ones, through the application of disruptive and innovative technologies. “Working for zero-emissions aircraft is one of our priorities, incorporating the new technologies demanded by the industry. AERTEC is at the forefront in terms of HVDC – High Voltage Direct Current – power management and distribution, being able to reach from 0 to 540 VDC, and few companies have achieved this today”, Bellido explains.
AERTEC also applies microcontroller technology, within the same electrical power distribution system, which enables digital control and monitoring of the sensors of all connected loads, displaying sensor data in real-time and the possibility of acting on relays in real-time. “The electrification of aircraft and all their systems makes the power distribution system a completely critical system, so monitoring is key to ensuring the protection of loads,” says Sara Bellido.
For total electrification, storage systems will need to be improved. Sara recalls that “research is also needed on technologies that substantially increase energy density and do not limit the autonomy of the aircraft.”