Electric aviation programmes to receive $55 million from U.S. DOE
The programmes represent focused efforts on the development of more energy-efficient, electric motor and powertrain systems for commercial aircraft.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has announced up to $55 million in funding will be awarded to two programmes to support the development of low-cost electric aviation engine technology and powertrain systems.
Awardees will be subject to a rigorous performance metrics review over the course of their funding cycles.
The programmes are undertaking research on Aviation-class Synergistically Cooled Electric-motors with iNtegrated Drives (ASCEND) and Range Extenders for Electric Aviation with Low Carbon and High Efficiency (REEACH), seeking to develop commercial-class electric aviation energy technology solutions with the goal of mitigating the emissions caused by passenger aircraft.
Air travel accounts for nearly 175 million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions in the U.S. per year, approximately 2.6 per cent of domestic GHG emissions. The programmes represent ARPA-E’s first focused efforts on the development of more energy-efficient, electric motor and powertrain systems for commercial aircraft.
Dan Brouillette, U.S. Secretary of Energy, said: “Every American should have reliable, affordable and efficient transportation, and the electrification of aviation systems has the potential to transform the way aircraft consume and use energy. These programmes will focus on innovative research and development for flight systems that increase the overall efficiency of aircraft and have the potential to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.”
Funding will be split between the two programmes – up to $35 million will be available through ASCEND, and up to $20 million available in the REEACH programme. A portion of each programme’s funding will be designated to qualifying small business applicants under ARPA-E’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programme.