Aircraft in the sky

Major investment in hybrid-electric aircraft research by the EU

​Aviation accounts for approximately two to three per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. An EU project is now underway to investigate the possibilities of hybrid-electric aircraft. Researchers at Chalmers are part of the project and will develop innovative heat management concepts and support aircraft design.
Few people today doubt that the Earth's atmosphere is affected by carbon dioxide emissions from human activity. The largest sources of emissions come from agriculture, industry and transport. Transport accounts for 25 per cent of global emissions and aviation account for about 3 per cent.

“A reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is a major key for aviation to continue to contribute to the development of society and the mobility of people. It requires innovative thinking and ambitious research that goes far beyond small improvements. The goal of this project is to find out if hybrid-electric flying can be a solution to the problem”, says Carlos Xisto, associate professor in the Division of Fluid Dynamics at the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences.

Chalmers' part in the project includes developing heat management concepts near the engines. Thermal management is a crucial aspect of hybrid-electric aircraft.

“The heat generated from the electrical machinery and power electronics can be converted into useful energy to improve the efficiency of the combined system. We will also develop methods to support the conceptual design of hybrid-electric aircraft”, says Carlos Xisto.    

The project is called Imothep and is a collaboration between 33 companies and universities which is financed by Horizon 2020. The project budget is a total of EUR 10 million.

Text: Anders Ryttarson Törneholm

Read more: IMOTHEP – Investigation and Maturation of Technologies for Hybrid Electric Propulsion

Published: Mon 31 Aug 2020.