The VerdeGo Aero team has successfully performed the first test runs of their “Iron Bird” prototype diesel-hybrid (Jet A fuel) generator system in early August. Full-power testing is now underway to accelerate development of VTOL and CTOL electric aircraft utilizing VerdeGo’s high-performance hybrid-electric powertrain to perform demanding commercial missions.
VerdeGo Aero has now successfully performed its initial series of tests to validate the Iron Bird system at power output levels above 150KW. This ground-based development hardware, built around the certified Continental CD-265 high efficiency diesel aviation engine, is being used for testing to refine the weight, power output, cooling systems, and reliability of the conformal hybrid systems now being engineered for aerospace customers. The VerdeGo hybrid generator can be combined with battery packs to enable peak power output up to 0.5MW and modular twin generator systems can be stacked for 360KW continuous and 1MW peak output.
VerdeGo’s hybrid power systems are applicable to numerous next-generation electric aircraft markets including: vertical takeoff and landing urban air mobility vehicles (eVTOL), short takeoff and landing (eSTOL), and conventional takeoff and landing (eCTOL) aircraft. Both passenger and cargo aircraft in manned and unmanned configurations are supported by VerdeGo’s hybrid powertrain. Their diesel-hybrid system runs on globally-available Jet-A fuel consuming around 40% less fuel than competing turbine-hybrid offerings, while providing between four and eight times the endurance of competing battery-only powertrains. Compatibility with Jet A also means the VerdeGo hybrid is compatible with the bio-Jet substitute fuels under development.
A visual of VerdeGo Aero’s integrated distribution electric propulsion (IDEP) system.
“Getting the Iron Bird running not only validates the operating economics of our diesel-hybrid power generation system, it also enables us to perform hardware-in-the-loop simulations using mission profiles from our airframe customers”, says David Eichstedt, Director of Advanced Concepts. “It’s a powerful way for customers to validate the economics of their aircraft designs value proposition using real powertrain hardware without leaving the ground.” For interested parties willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement, VerdeGo is able to provide the equivalent of a traditional engine deck. This proprietary software utilizes data from the full-scale hardware testing and includes a hybrid simulation model for airframers to use that includes both the hybrid generator and the battery solution that goes with it.
Chief Executive Officer Eric Bartsch says, “VerdeGo Aero is positioned to offer the most efficient, most cost effective, low emissions hybrid system for demanding commercial aviation missions. Our Iron Bird is demonstrating the hardware platform that will power aircraft requiring up to 1MW of peak power using our highly efficient generator systems and world-class battery pack technologies.”
Why it’s important: VerdeGo’s hybrid systems provide significantly more mission capabilities than battery-packs while substantially reducing fuel consumption, emissions, operating cost, and noise when compared to turbine hybrids. The operational testing of VerdeGo’s Iron Bird is a significant step towards enabling its customers to create more competitive electric aircraft, and could provide new manufacturers with the necessary technology to commercialize aerial mobility services.
Source // VerdeGo Aero press release