Ampaire released a 20 page Whitepaper in late June which details the primary benefits of hybrid electric propulsion, named the Executive Guide 1.0. This guide focuses on the current technological readiness of hybrid electric propulsion systems that Ampaire’s aircraft feature and why the current landscape best supports hybrid electric propulsion solutions, at least until battery energy densities increase beyond what is currently available.

In fours primary sections, the document outlines the basics of hybrid electric vs. all electric propulsion, then details the basic system of hybrid electric propulsion. It examines hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) advancements and projections for renewable energy source integration into the greater aviation powertrain ecosystem in the future.

The Whitepaper also outlines the ways hybrid electric systems benefit the efficiency and capabilities of aircraft, and how Ampaire specifically distributes their energy generation from ICE and battery sources during a flight. Another unique component of the analysis is the trade study of hydrogen or SAF use in smaller airplanes. While Ampaire has adopted the hybrid approach, companies like ZeroAvia are beginning to work on larger scale hydrogen fuel cell adaptations for turbine motors. ZeroAvia currently uses hydrogen fuel cell technology to power its Bombardier Q400 turboprop which is undergoing flight testing in Moses Lake, Washington and has future plans to convert a Dornier 228 to run on hydrogen.

Why it’s important: Fully electric aircraft are in our aviation future, but current models are challenged by battery energy density limits and battery weights that remain unchanged during energy consumption. On the contrary, once jet fuel is burned it results in a total aircraft weight reduction, allowing for increased performance. Accordingly, many OEMs are focusing on hybrid propulsion systems that leverage the benefits of internal combustion engines and battery technology for certain phases of flight, a best of both worlds approach given the current technological landscape. Analysts project that full electrification of small to regional jet sized airplanes is possible within the next decades, however large wide-body aircraft are not likely to see electrification given the current landscape; sustainable aviation fuel will likely serve as a means to offset total carbon lifecycle emissions for larger, longer range aircraft.

Read the full Whitepaper on Ampaire’s website here.


Posted by Naish Gaubatz