To address the planetary challenge of Climate Change, aviation needs to play its part and be sustainable. FutPrInt50 contributes to this goal, advancing knowledge and technologies towards entry-intoservice of regional hybrid-electric 50-seat aircraft. Hybrid-electric technologies have the potential to cut down aircraft emissions and offer new and greener regional networks connecting regions facing depopulation challenges, among others. New regional aircraft paradigms are needed to improve mobility and development.
We need to think ahead, not only around the aircraft and its technologies, but consider aviation as a complete ecosystem. As such, FutPrInt50 tackles this global challenge with an open collaboration framework, to be available to all in the community.
Hybrid-electric propulsion implies great challenges: managing new heat sources, synergistic integration of more efficient propulsors, energy storage and its management, to name a few. To deliver this knowledge, tools and people should venture into the design space and reveal non-conventional and nonstandard solutions. This is the way of FutPrInt50; a consortium of academic, research, and industrial partners from 10 different countries around the world.
Where is FutPrInt50 now? Hybridelectric propulsion offers a vast variety of powertrain alternatives, each with their own set of advantages and drawbacks. We investigated multiple hybrid-electric architectures and selected an aircraft with electrically boosted turboprop engines and wing tip propellers. This is the platform which will facilitate the detailed examination of three key enabling technologies: energy storage, thermal management, and energy harvesting. New models at system and aircraft level are being developed and systematically integrated.
Finally, to truly bring the vision to reality, a technology and regulatory roadmap will be proposed. All actors in the ecosystem need to be at the same readiness level if Hybrid-Electric Regional Aviation is to become reality by the late 2030’s contributing to this new shape and type of aircraft of the future.
FutPrInt50 believes in openness. It will offer an open tool, where all research results converge, to be available to anyone interested in hybrid-electric aircraft design.
It is thinking on those future engineers that FutPrInt50 fosters its Academy, promoting design challenges aimed to this new generation of professionals.
Our time frame is 2035 to 2040. Looking at design cycles and considering a variety of new systems on board, 2035 is ambitious but together, as a community, we can make it real.
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 875551.