USATU Researchers Kick-Start Hybrid Aviation
On Wednesday, 24 March, the organising committee of the XV International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2021 informed this year's air show would include a demonstration flight of the first-ever aircraft with a hybrid powertrain. A 400 kW electric generator driven by a turboshaft engine is at the core of the system.
The pioneer solution's authors are a team of scientists from Ufa State Aviation Technical University (USATU) joined by colleagues from the P. I. Baranov Central Institute of Aviation Motor Development. The device will replace one of the three current engines found in the tail section of the Yak-40 jet airliner, informs USATU's Press Office.
The electric engine operating on the principle of high-temperature superconductivity will find its place in the nose of the plane. It was developed by SuperOx company, following the request of the Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects.
The primary function of the turbo-generator is to supply the engine with power. The turboshaft spins the generator, which in turn applies current to the engine.
Rig testing of the generating unit took place in October 2020, with flight tests completed in Novosibirsk this February. The project's success gives a promising outlook for distributing hybrid propulsion systems in aviation en masse. Such power modules are far more environmentally friendly and will enable significant fuel savings.
In 2019, Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus, announced plans to construct a hybrid-electric airliner. He envisioned the first flights of the now-developed aircraft would happen before 2035.
Let us remind you that Novosibirsk State Technical University has made a breadboard model of a modified starter-generator for commercial aircraft. NSTU's researchers joined two previously separate devices - a starter to run the electric generator and an electric generator to power aircraft equipment while in flight - into one unit.