The European aviation industry is working to achieve its target of zero net carbon emissions by 2050. Moving forward in the development of hybrid-electric aeroplanes is one of the keys to facing this challenge. However, to support new propulsion systems, new high-voltage electricity distribution technologies will be required as the electricity levels rise from hundreds of kilowatts now to megawatts in future aircraft.
AERTEC will develop and validate a technology demonstrator that monitors and controls the availability and operation of all the next-generation high-voltage electrical systems developed in the HECATE project.
This is the main objective of HECATE, a project led by the technology supplier Collins Aerospace and which includes 37 companies and entities from 11 European countries, including, apart from AERTEC, Airbus Defence and Space, Safran, Leonardo, Thales and Fokker, as well as a dozen universities and technology centres from across Europe.
The HECATE consortium will develop high-voltage electrical distribution systems for hybrid regional aircraft, with the specific objective of demonstrating a hybrid architecture of > 500 kW during ground testing at a technology readiness level (TRL) of 5 by 2025. These will be cutting-edge high-voltage electricity technologies, with a low carbon footprint, in keeping with the goals of Clean Aviation, the main joint research and innovation programme of the European Union, UK Research and Innovation and the aviation industry to transform aviation towards a sustainable and climate-neutral future (more information on HECATE at www.hecate-project.eu).
“AERTEC’s contribution will focus on researching, developing and validating a technology demonstrator of the Global Health Monitoring system, to monitor and control the availability and operation of all the next-generation high-voltage electrical systems developed in the HECATE project for the hybrid-electric regional aircraft”, said Rafael Ortiz, Head of Aerospace and Defence Systems at AERTEC.
The Spanish engineering company has considerable expertise in avionics, aeroplane electrification, certifiable on-board software, and guidance, navigation and control systems, and has spearheaded the development of intelligent and innovative solutions for the distribution of electricity in aeroplanes.
AERTEC has a long history of involvement in innovation projects in Europe, and since 2011 it has engaged in intense innovation work in numerous initiatives linked to the European Clean Sky (1 and 2) and the current Aviation Clean. In the first cases, the innovation projects were geared towards greener and environmentally friendly aviation, while in the current Aviation Clean programme, the concept has advanced further still, focusing on decarbonising aviation.