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Sun, Sep 11, 2022

Electra Successfully Tests Hybrid Engine

Hydrogen and Battery Powerplant to Power Blown Lift eSTOL

Founded in 2020 with a mission to decarbonize aviation and bring air transportation to every part of the great, wide world, Electra.aero, Inc.’s team of former MIT, Boeing, Airbus, Pilatus, and Hondajet engineers has successfully completed a fully-integrated test of its proprietary hybrid-electric propulsion system. The hydrogen and battery-electric power-plant is destined for use in Electra’s electric short take-off and landing (eSTOL) aircraft.

Electra's hybrid system comprises a combination of high-power battery packs and a turbogenerator which powers eight electric motors and their respective propellers. Testing of the system took place at the company’s propulsion development facility in Switzerland.

Presently, Electra’s hybrid propulsion system is being integrated into a piloted technology demonstrator aircraft with which the company plans to demonstrate and chart the vehicle’s ultra-short take-off and landing performance and fuel burn. The engine’s constituent technologies were developed for Electra’s 9-passenger eSTOL, and will ultimately be scaled to larger aircraft.

Hybrid-electric propulsion is Electra’s first step along a carefully planned path to zero-emissions air mobility. The constraints of contemporary battery technology preclude practical application of all-electric power-plants in Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) vehicles. Ergo, hybrid-electric propulsion remains the sole sustainable architecture capable of meeting the range and endurance requirements of emergent regional air mobility markets.

The design of Electra’s eSTOL aircraft incorporates a degree of flexibility commensurate with the ready adaptation of its hydrogen and battery electric propulsion to advancements in power generation and storage. To support its long-range goals, Electra is exploring green hydrogen with its partner Plug Power, an American company engaged in the development of hydrogen fuel-cell systems that replace conventional batteries in equipment and vehicles powered by electricity.

Electra vice president and general manager J.P. Stewart states: "Tightly coupling airframe and propulsion systems is the hallmark of Electra’s unique and scalable approach to providing net-zero emissions for regional and transport-category aircraft by 2050. Electra’s eSTOL aircraft uses this patent-pending technology for the urban and regional aircraft market, allowing a reduction of the five-billion tons of CO2 created by inefficient ground transport in personal cars every year."  

Electra's team includes some of the most respected and successful entrepreneurs and engineers in the novel aircraft design business; the company’s development of aerospace technologies is supported by the joint NASA—U.S. Air Force Agility Prime program.

FMI: www.electra.aero

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