The world of aviation does not stop its plans to transform themselves towards the electric world and the use of clean energy. In this case, Airbus (a European company that designs, manufactures and sells civil aircraft) launched the “Advanced Superconductor and Cryogenic Experimental PowertraiN Demonstrator” (ASCEND) to explore the impact of superconducting materials and cryogenic temperatures on the performance of the electric propulsion systems of an aircraft.
As detailed in the portal “Space News”, the introduction of superconducting materials can reduce electrical resistance, which means that electric current can supply energy without loss of energy.
When combined with liquid hydrogen at cryogenic temperatures (-253 degrees Celsius), electrical systems can be cooled to significantly increase the performance of the overall electric propulsion system.
Airbus will use ASCEND to explore the feasibility of these promising technologies in order to optimize the ready propulsion architecture for low-emission and zero-emission flights.
The results are expected to show the potential for component weights and electrical losses to be reduced by at least half, as the volume and complexity of systems installation is reduced, as well as a reduction in voltage below 500 V, compared to current mechanisms.
ASCEND will evaluate electrical architectures from several hundred kilowatts to multi-megawatt applications with and without liquid hydrogen on board.
Airbus will design and build the demonstrator over the next three years at its E-Aircraft System House. Solutions that could be adapted to turboprop, turbofan and hybrid propeller engines will be tested and evaluated by the end of 2023.
The demonstrator will support Airbus’ decision-making process for the type of propulsion system architecture required for future aircraft. ASCEND is also expected to back performance improvements to existing and future propulsion systems across the Airbus portfolio, including helicopters, eVTOL, as well as regional and single-aisle aircraft.
The demonstrator is hosted by Airbus UpNext, an Airbus affiliate created to give future technologies rapid development by building demonstrators at speed and scale, evaluating, maturing and validating new products and services that encompass radical technological advancements.
Written by I Jhonattan González