A partnership of Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), Collins Aerospace and the University of Nottingham has won grant funding of over £1 million to develop electric propulsion technologies.

A partnership of Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), Collins Aerospace and the University of Nottingham (UoN) has won grant funding of over £1 million from the UK Aerospace Research and Technology Programme to develop electric propulsion technologies, using Airlander 10 as the initial platform.

The project, named E-HAV1, will aim to deliver a full-sized prototype 500kW electric propulsor for ground testing and technologies ready for future production.

Towards zero carbon aviation

HAV is aiming to replace its fuel-burning forward engines as the first step towards an all-electric version of the aircraft.

The prototype £32 million Airlander 10 was retired after its collapse in 2017, following six successful test flights. HAV is now developing the new Airlander 10, and full production is due to start soon. It uses a combination of buoyant lift from helium, aerodynamic lift and vectored thrust to reduce fuel burn. The company says it wants to go further.

“Reducing our carbon footprint is one of the biggest challenges facing aviation today,” says HAV’s CEO Stephen McGlennan. “While Airlander 10 is already helping customers Rethink the Skies with incredible efficiency, we have to find ways of further reducing the impact we have on our environment. This project will move us closer to our goal of zero-carbon aviation.”

“As the innovation leader in electric power systems for the aerospace and defence industry, Collins Aerospace is proud to join with our partners in advancing this critical initiative,” said Marc Holme, Motor Drive Systems Engineering Director at Collins Aerospace. “Together, we’re developing innovative technologies that will pave the way for the hybrid-electric and all-electric aircraft of the future.”

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