Rolls-Royce has completed its tests on groundbreaking technology that will power the world's fastest fully electric aircraft.
Tests on all the technology that will power the aircraft, including the 500-horsepower electric powertrain that can break the world-wide speed record and the battery that can power 250 homes, were carried out on a full-scale aircraft replica called 'ionBird'.
The aircraft in question is part of the Rolls-Royce program called 'Accelerating the Electrification of Flight' or ACCEL for short. The ACCEL project team consists of one of the main partners, electric motor and controller manufacturer YASA, and an aviation initiative named Electroflight. The project team continues its technology development efforts in compliance with the UK Government's social distance and other health regulations. The systems developed will soon be integrated into the aircraft named 'Spirit of Innovation'. In aviation, iron-bird (iron-bird) has been used for many years to test pre-flight propulsion systems, but this time Rolls-Royce named the aircraft fuselage 'ionBird', based on the zero carbon emission energy source that will power the aircraft.
UK Trade and Industry Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “In the future, transportation will be done with clean electricity sources in all means of transport, from trains to planes. In this context, companies like Rolls-Royce help us to reach our net zero carbon emission targets by developing appropriate technologies. The completion of the ground tests under the ACCEL project, which is also supported by our government, is not only a step towards an exciting world record initiative, but also a move towards the development of fully electric and hybrid-electric aircraft that will one day carry large numbers of passengers all over the world. ”
Propeller speed of about 2.400 revolutions per minute
Each of the system components was tested by the project team, including:
- The propeller was operated at full speed (approximately 2.400 rpm) using the most powerful battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft propulsion system. While operating at full capacity during the flight test phase, it will activate the aircraft with a thrust of over 482,8032 km / h (300mph) and set a new world record speed in electric flights. There are over 6.000 cells in the battery to ensure maximum safety, minimum weight and full thermal protection.
- Since January, Rolls-Royce's engineering team and test pilots have been working hard to optimize the system and develop electric flight operating procedures.
- In order to improve performance in every possible way, gigabytes of data was generated for each hour of operation analyzed by the project team.
“Rolls-Royce is committed to leading the way in achieving the net zero carbon emission target by 2050,” said Rob Watson, Director of Rolls-Royce Electric Systems. The completion of ground tests within the framework of the ACCEL project, besides being a very important achievement for the project team, is another critical step towards breaking the world record. This project also helps us to maintain our leadership in developing Rolls-Royce's capabilities and ensuring flight electrification, which is an important part of its sustainability strategy. ”
Bremont will act as the official timing partner in the all-electric speed record initiative. The British luxury watch brand designed the cockpit, which will have a stopwatch, while also producing the canopy drop parts at its production center in Henley-on-Thames.
The first flight of the plane is planned for a later date this year. It is aimed to break the full electric flight record at the beginning of next year. Half of the project funding is provided by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), in partnership with the government's Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK Council.
Mark Scully, Head of Advanced Systems & Propulsion Systems at the Institute of Aviation Technology, said: “Achieving such a milestone is of utmost importance. The ACCEL team is pioneering the integration of the high-performance battery, engine and propulsion elements required to obtain an electric propulsion system within an ambitious flight test program. These technologies and the system integration required to use them have great potential for sustainable aviation in the future and therefore ATI is proud to support this project. ”
The ACCEL project is a series of firsts in Rolls-Royce's journey to net zero carbon emissions for 2050 ... The project is the first Rolls-Royce project to use the carbon offset method to make the entire program carbon-free ... Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Within the scope of the project, downloadable materials for children of primary school age were also developed. All of these materials linked to the UK curriculum can be downloaded from the Rolls-Royce website.