Black & Veatch – a leader in sustainable infrastructure, renewable energy and transportation electrification – and Ampaire announced on Monday that they’ll collaborate on developing airport electrification that supports the electric aircraft requirements of the future.
The partnership between Black & Veatch and Ampaire was disclosed via press release Monday, and is quoted to “work to identify and evaluate opportunities to plan, engineer and construct infrastructure for electric air mobility at airports, working with early adopters in the Americas, Europe and Asia”.
The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding that will focus globally on creating reliable, clean-energy-powered charging and sustainable aviation fueling supply at a growing number of airports. The MoU also includes provisions for leveraging solar, energy storage and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) supply chain development. The initiative seeks to include a broad range of air and ground side stakeholders who will benefit from shared infrastructure and Black & Veatch’s deep knowledge of power and communications infrastructure applied to this innovative industry sector.
“Governments, companies and communities around the world are making lowering their carbon footprints a priority, and the transportation sector is helping accelerate positive change,” added Paul Stith, Black & Veatch’s associate vice president of global transportation initiatives. “Decarbonization of aviation is challenging and requires technology and collaboration. Tackling emissions with concurrent SAF and electrification strategies offers a shining example of what’s possible in doing things cleaner and greener, and we’re excited about working with Ampaire to reshape tomorrow’s air mobility through infrastructure and innovation.”
Ampaire has helped to lead the charge of electrified regional aircraft, among other companies such as Eviation and VoltAero. Ampaire’s modified Cessna 337 Skymaster completed a 481 miles nonstop flight from Perth, Scotland, to Exeter in southwest England in August 2021 with its “Electric EEL” aircraft. The aircraft was modified with hybrid-electric propulsion, and is cited by Ampaire as longest flight by a commercial-sized, hybrid-electric aircraft to date.
The promise of electrified air mobility continues to grow, given the environmental benefits, their reduced fuel requirements and maintenance costs, and the sector’s lesser reliance on traditional fuels prone to price and supply fluctuations. While electrification carries vast potential in unleashing a new mobility market, expanding the industry rests significantly on deploying more charging and servicing infrastructure.
Why it’s important: The partnership between Ampaire and Black & Veatch will allow for quicker progress toward a network of charging and charging support installations that give operators of electric regional and short haul aircraft the access required to efficiently turn airplanes to support multiple flights per day. These sorts of infrastructure projects would then be able to support longer journeys as well, such as BETA Technology’s recent flight of their ALIA aircraft that spanned over 1,400 miles in 7 days. With more advanced charging infrastructure, or modular, replaceable batteries, these types of journeys could be significantly shortened in duration as down time on the ground is significantly reduced.