HYPSTAIR – Start up project

Bringing Innovation By Designing Certified Serial Hybrid Aircraft Components In Light Aviation

On 10th and 11th of October, partners gathered around the project “Development and validation of hybrid propulsion system components and sub-systems for electrical aircraft” or in short “HYPSTAIR”.  The HYPSTAIR project, which is co-financed by Seventh Framework programme of European Commission, already started in September 2013. Lead partner of the project is Pipistrel (Slovenia), which coordinates the implementation of activities in partnership with Siemens AG (Germany), University of Maribor (Slovenia), University of Pisa (Italy) and M.B. Vision di Pinucci Massimiliano(Italy). During the two full days of the meeting, the partners addressed several topics, from management of the overall project to more specific topics considering actual activities in project.

The HYPSTAIR project  was developed to address the challenge of designing and building components of a hybrid drive system, intended for use in small general aviation aircraft. While demonstrators for hybrid drives recently took flight, genuinely useful hybrid propulsion allowing for similar performance to existing internal combustion propulsion, while giving advantages in fuel consumption, noise footprint, reduced maintenance and increased safety has not been attempted yet. Furthermore, certification standard for such components need to be defined in parallel to their development, in order for hybrid and electric propulsion to become a viable commercial alternative.

The main driver of HYPSTAIR project is the necessity for the aviation industry to follow the trends of sustainable energy sources and efficient use of energy. The technology in the light aircraft industry is, although constantly updated and reliable, over 50 years old. Fortunately, it is in the light aviation segment where the application of all-electric aircraft technology, including propulsion, can be best applied and can give significant benefits. A serial hybrid aircraft concept currently represents the best efficiency versus range compromise in the light aviation segment.  Limitations of current electric energy storage technology make an electric-only propulsion system for now unsuitable for long range flying. The main aim of project will therefore be to develop stable hybrid propulsion system which will proved at the same time the long range flying, increasing the fuel efficiency and safety and on the other hand enable easy use of such hybrid propulsion system for pilots.

The project aims to design components of a serial hybrid propulsion system for small aircraft. The idea of a project is to develop components and necessary sub systems comprising a serial hybrid aircraft propulsion system, along with the development of human machine interface components that allow a pilot to fully utilize the benefits of hybrid propulsion without overloading the pilot.  The components will be designed with the aim of functioning as a part of a complete airframe and hybrid drive system. The sizing of all components will be performed in such way that the focus will be not only on their individual efficiency, but also on the expected total system efficiency and performance. Another target when designing the hybrid system components will be inherent increased safety and development of the ease of use of such propulsion. A serial hybrid drive allows for two independent sources of energy, namely the battery system and the generator system. In case of failure of either component, the other can supply reserve power. As no regulations for hybrid drive systems currently exist, defining these requirements in collaboration with the authorities will be an important contribution of the project, paving the way for hybrid and electric technologies to be introduced to the market. Therefore all components will be designed in a way that they will meet the relevant safety and certification standards.

The HYPSTAIR project intends to bring various innovations to the light aviation segment. The project will reduce weight of hybrid propulsion system by reducing the weight of mechanical components in comparison to a piston powered aircraft. Developing a special human machine interface will enable the pilot to exploit all the benefits of a hybrid propulsion system, which are ease of use, increased safety, fuel efficiency and of course lesser travel charges. The project impact will be important for the industry segment; by defining the certification requirements for hybrid drive systems, a competitive supply chain for hybrid drive components will be implemented. These advances represent significant benefits for aviation industry as well as for consumers. 

Posted on February 18th
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