As part of their innovation strategies, Daher, Airbus and Safran have announced a collaborative partnership for the design and development of the wing-mounted EcoPulseTM distributed hybrid propulsion demonstrator with a maiden flight scheduled in 2022.
Based on Daher’s TBM platform, this project, kick-started by CORAC (the French Civil Aviation Research Council) with support from DGAC (the French Civil Aviation Authority), will develop technologies that boost the environmental efficiency of aircraft and meet the future needs of the air travel industry.
The overall approach spans 3 areas of research and development:
- The distributed hybrid propulsion system will be provided by Safran;
- Airbus will have responsibility for the aerodynamic optimisation of the distributed propulsion system, the installation of high energy density batteries and the use of those batteries to power the aircraft;
- Component and systems installation, flight testing, overall analysis and regulatory construction will be undertaken by Daher using its TBM platform.
The purpose of this three-way collaboration is to validate technologies designed to reduce CO2emissions, noise pollution, and create new uses for air transportation.
Safran will supply the entire EcoPulseTM distributed hybrid propulsion system (excluding batteries), consisting of a turbogenerator (a combined turbine and power generator), an electric power management system and integrated electric thrusters (or e-Propellers) including electric motors and propellers.
The electric thrusters will be integrated into the EcoPulseTM wing and will provide propulsion thrust, at the same time as delivering aerodynamic gains (reducing wing surface area and wingtip marginal vortices, and therefore drag).
Airbus will be involved in the aerodynamic modelling of the demonstrator, both to support configuration choices and to enable the development of flight control laws. All these considerations should make it possible to demonstrate the benefits of distributed propulsion, and provide the baselines for the design of optimised distributed propulsion aircraft in terms of methods, tools and outcomes.