Image: Collins Aerospace
Collins Aerospace will coordinate the development of new high-voltage electric power distribution technologies under the European Union’s Clean Aviation HECATE project.
For HECATE, which stands for Hybrid-ElectriC regional Aircraft distribution TEchnologies, Collins will lead the project’s steering committee, while Safran will serve as technical coordinator.
The two companies will work with a consortium of 37 European aerospace industry partners across 10 countries, including Thales, Diehl Aerospace, Airbus Defence and Space, Leonardo and multiple universities. The HECATE consortium is set to receive roughly €34 million ($36.76 million) in funding from Clean Aviation and €6 million ($6.49 million) from UK Research and Innovation.
“As the aviation industry works to achieve its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the development of hybrid-electric aircraft is seen as one of the key ingredients to success,” said Mauro Atalla, senior vice president, engineering and technology for Collins.
In order to support hybrid-electric propulsion systems, new high-voltage distribution technologies will be required as electric power levels increase from hundreds of kilowatts in today’s aircraft, to megawatt levels in the aircraft of the future. The HECATE consortium will work to address this challenge for regional platforms, with a specific goal of demonstrating a >500 kW hybrid-electric architecture in ground tests at TRL5 by 2025.
“With decades of experience supplying electric power systems for the world’s most advanced aircraft, Collins is bringing that expertise to bear in the development of multiple next-gen electric technologies that are integral to sustainable flight,” said Atalla.
He added: “Key among them are high-voltage distribution systems—a critical enabler for hybrid-electric propulsion. In collaboration with the HECATE consortium, we will develop new high-voltage technologies to help pave the way for future hybrid-electric platforms and reduced carbon emissions.”