Airlines Volotea and Air Nostrum, in collaboration with developer Dante Aeronautical, recently announced the proposal for a 100% electric aircraft they are working on, based on four key objectives: reducing emissions; create 100% electric planes; promote sustainable regional aviation; and bring innovative solutions to the sector.
The artificial intelligence company DataBeaco and the engineering and technological innovation company of the aeronautical sector CT Ingenieros have also joined the project. Other public research organizations (OPI) such as the Foundation for Research and Development in Transport and Energy and the Specialized Research Center for Energy Storage are also participating.
The consortium’s plan is focused on carrying out the conversion of short and medium-haul commercial aircraft, modernized for 9 and 19 passengers; and the design of the DAX19 hybrid regional aircraft, for 19 passengers.
The proposal is to develop an all-electric power plant, including the engine and propulsion system, powered by a hybrid system of batteries and hydrogen cells, which have a technology called PEM -Proton Exchange Membrane- that converts the energy content hydrogen into electricity.
The batteries would be used at times when peak power is required, such as during takeoffs and climbs. The cells chosen for development allow high levels of discharge.
According to the developers, electric motors have a great advantage over internal combustion engines in terms of energy efficiency, which will be greater than 90% in the first case and less than 40% in the second.
Carlos Muñoz, Founder and CEO of Volotea, assured that “it makes perfect sense that Volotea supports this project, as it is very much in line with our goal of connecting underserved cities and doing so in a more sustainable way. . “
For his part, the president of Air Nostrum, Carlos Bartomeu, underlined that “the results confirm Air Nostrum’s collaborations with technological start-ups and universities on the path of efficiency and improvement of passenger service. “And added that” it was clear that Air Nostrum, as a regional benchmark airline, had things to contribute to such an exciting project as this, especially in an area like sustainable development in which we are working since many years.”
“For Dante Aeronautical, the extension of the consortium signed with other innovative technology companies can only strengthen our development plan for 100% electric aviation, revolutionizing the concepts of aviation today and pushing us towards more sustainable and cleaner transport, ”said Miguel Madinabeitia. He also stressed that this project “perfectly complements our efforts in other parts of the world, such as the initiative we have underway in Australia for the electrification of seaplanes”.
The consortium says it faces the technological challenge of demonstrating the feasibility of replacing the power plant of existing commercial aircraft with a power plant. The Retrofit 9 test flights are scheduled for 2023 and the developers expect to receive certification in 2024. During this year, they would begin flight tests of the Retrofit 19 model to aim for certification in 2025. As such Regarding the certification of the DAX19 concept aircraft, the consortium plans its execution between 2028 and 2030.
This initiative is in addition to those we have discussed in our Sustainable Aviation section, in which airlines, manufacturers, suppliers and other players in the aviation industry have worked to reduce the environmental impact of the sector at the same time. ‘to come up.