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EcoPulse demonstrator takes shape ahead of Paris Airshow

EcoPulse demonstrator takes shape ahead of Paris Airshow

Airbus, Daher, and Safran worked together to build the Distributed Hybrid-Electric Propulsion aircraft demonstrator known as EcoPulse. This project, which is based on Daher’s TBM light-aircraft platform, was announced at Le Bourget in 2019 and received funding from the French Government, the EU, and CORAC* (the French Civil Aviation Research Council).

The goal is to advance “techno-bricks” that could help the aviation industry’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The demonstration will assess the benefits of high-voltage electrical propulsion and battery, distributed propulsion, onboard overall energy efficiency (fuel reduction), and distributed propulsion in terms of their potential for inclusion on future aircraft.

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Daher, the company that makes the TBM aircraft, has been conducting test flights using Safran’s e-Propellers at its Tarbes, France, development centre since the beginning of this year. These happened in stages, first with two, then four, and finally all six e-Propellers connected. Each of these units has a DUC Propellers-provided three-bladed propeller connected to an experimental 50 kW “ENGINeUS” electric motor placed in a pod just behind it.

The main benefit for pilots is that the FCC logic will take care of everything regarding what each e-Propeller and/or flight control surface is doing in real-time, whether alone or in combination. They need just use the flight controls to direct the aircraft to accomplish what they desire.

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Another significant aspect is the ability to precisely monitor and digitally control the angular displacement of each e-Propeller’s rotor (down to one single degree! ), unlike typical gas turbine aero-engines (such as turboprops). This makes it possible to automatically synchro-phase each propeller in relation to the neighbouring ones to reduce vibration and noise during flight.

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Next stop: Paris Air Show 2023

The teams will prepare the entire installation, activation, and ground testing of the high-voltage power train, comprising the turbogenerator, battery, and functioning e-Propellers, following the most recent preliminary flight tests with the six pods (unpowered). The actual EcoPulse demonstration then makes its first public appearance at this year’s Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, displaying its final external configuration. Visitors to the show can have a close-up look at EcoPulse at the “Paris Air Lab stand” in the static display. The demonstrator is then anticipated to fly later this year with DEP fully active.

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