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PRESS RELEASE
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Ampaire leads team to demonstrate electric aviation transport system under UK future flight challenge award
Thursday, 18 March 2021

Ampaire, a leader in electric aviation, will head up a consortium to demonstrate the feasibility and advantages of regional electric aviation transport.

The group's 2ZERO (Towards Zero Emissions in Regional Aircraft Operations) programme will include demonstration flights of Ampaire's six-seat Electric EEL aircraft, and, in a later phase, of a 19-seat Eco Otter SX, hybrid-electric upgrade of the workhorse Twin Otter commuter aircraft. These testbed aircraft will be used to develop and evaluate requirements for a fully integrated electric aviation infrastructure.

Consortium partners include Rolls-Royce Electrical, University of Nottingham, Loganair Ltd, Exeter and Devon Airports Ltd, Cornwall Airport Ltd, Heart of the Southwest Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSWLEP), and UK Power Network Services.

The team has received a share of £30 million from the Future Flight Challenge for its 2ZERO proposal to demonstrate hybrid-electric aircraft on regional routes in the South West of the UK. The project is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

2ZERO takes a whole aviation systems approach to integrate hybrid-electric aircraft technology with existing airport and airline operations for rapid adoption of sustainable air travel within a new, net-zero aviation system.

The UK Government aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, with electric aviation making a substantial contribution on domestic routes. One of the objectives of the 2ZERO programme is to model and simulate a point-to-point (PTP) route system for regional flights using very efficient hybrid-electric aircraft, improving regional services and providing more time- and energy-efficient travel options versus traditional hub-and-spoke systems.

"For electric aviation to become commonplace, and play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gases, we need to look at not only electric aircraft but the entire ecosystem to support electric aviation. That will be a key aim of the 2ZERO programme," said Susan Ying, Ampaire Senior Vice President for Global Partnerships.

"We are excited to be involved in Project 2ZERO, which demonstrates our commitment to supporting the decarbonisation of aviation and in reaching net zero carbon by 2050. Working with Ampaire and the other partners is a valuable opportunity for us to deliver a hybrid-electric propulsion system that could help to transform regional air travel in the future," said, Rob Watson, Director of Rolls-Royce Electrical.

"This project provides an opportunity to utilise our research to evaluate the effects of these revolutionary changes to air travel. The inclusion of airline and airport partners will ensure that the models and evaluations are realistic – guiding decision makers into how to best take advantage of these innovations in future", said Dr Jason Atkin, Computational Optimisation and Learning Lab, University of Nottingham.

Andrew Bell, from Exeter Airport said: "Our 2ZERO programme is incredibly exciting for us and the South West region. Exeter is an important regional airport and this project really puts us on the map as a forward-looking airport and demonstrates our commitment, along with our partners, to making the future of aviation a sustainable one."

Karl Tucker, chair of Heart of the SW LEP, said: "We're delighted to be part of this successful consortium bid to UKRI. The South West has so much to offer, including boasting the most highly skilled workforce in the aerospace sector and our smart aviation cluster. This programme is a huge step forwards in transforming the future of air travel and helping the UK to achieve its target of net carbon flights by 2050."

"Loganair are very pleased to be part of this consortium of leading experts in this field. During the course of the project, Loganair pilots and engineers will gain experience operating Ampaire's EEL and provide feedback to ensure that future commercial aircraft incorporating this technology are effective transport solutions not just for Scotland and the South West, but the wider, global market." Andy Smith, Head of Sustainability Strategy, Loganair Ltd.

"Cornwall Airport Newquay is proud to be part of the team developing electric regional aircraft that aim to be carbon neutral. By basing an electric aircraft at Cornwall Airport Newquay, part of the energy used to charge the aircraft batteries will be generated by the adjacent solar farm owned by Cornwall Council. The airport already benefits from using solar energy and this is the next logical step towards greener flight in the UK." Said Graeme Scrimgeour, Commercial Estates Manager, Cornwall Airport Newquay.

Please see below a full list of 2ZERO programme participants:

Ampaire: for programme leadership and testbed aircraft. Ampaire is a leader in the development of practical electric aircraft, focusing initially on hybrid-electric solutions that can enter the market in the near term. The company has a track record of rapid aircraft development, with examples of its ground-breaking six-seat Electric EEL aircraft in flight test and demonstration flights operating for more than a year. Ampaire will provide an Electric EEL (a Cessna 337 upgraded to hybrid-electric power). In an anticipated third phase of the programme, 2ZERO plans to test a hybrid-electric 19-seat Ampaire Eco Otter SX conversion of the Twin Otter developed in conjunction with Rolls-Royce.

Rolls-Royce: The company is an industrial technology company focused on world-class power and propulsion systems. Rolls-Royce has world-class domain knowledge and a growing electrical systems capability within its Rolls-Royce Electrical business division, a globally operating unit with engineers located in six countries. Rolls-Royce's role in 2ZERO includes development, coordination and management of the electric propulsion unit and battery system. For a planned Phase 3, Rolls Royce will also participate to ensure the successful flight test demonstration of the 19-seat Eco Otter.

- Rolls-Royce will supply an electric propulsion unit with certifiable safety features and high power-density suitable for Commuter aircraft operation

- Rolls-Royce will also develop a swappable battery system that satisfies the fast turnaround times required by high aircraft utilisation rates for airline operations. This step change revolutionises the overall battery thermal management system, enabling heat balance, minimising weight, and retaining the full safety case.

University of Nottingham (UoN) has extensive experience in air transportation system modelling and simulation (M&S) as well as electrification of aviation and systems integration. UoN will lead the M&S activities, working with airline and airport partners, to assess the impact on costs, operations and crew rostering for operating a fleet of hybrid-electric vehicles. The objective is to develop an optimised electric aviation ecosystem, including aircraft, airports, power distribution and storage.

Loganair Ltd is the largest UK regional airline and headquartered in Glasgow, providing its operational experience and requirements to support modelling and simulation, and definition of a commercially viable hybrid-electric 19-seat aircraft. Additionally, Loganair will provide pilots trained by Ampaire to operate the electrified aircraft for the flight demonstration of the 19-seat aircraft in 2ZERO's phase 3.

Exeter and Devon Airport Ltd and Cornwall Airport Ltd, the operators of Exeter Airport and Cornwall Airport Newquay respectively, have the ambition to provide clean aviation mobility to their regions. Their roles are to provide inputs to the models as well as working with hybrid-electric aircraft operators Ampaire and Loganair to ensure charging operations can be accomplished safely and efficiently. They will also assess access to local renewable electricity sources.

Heart of the South-West Local Enterprise Partnership (HOTSWLEP) is one of 38 LEPs in England, with the mission to lead and influence economic growth, job creation and prosperity across the Heart of the South West area. Through HOTSWLEP, the 2ZERO team can tap into the iAero, South West Aerospace cluster of global prominence, and the region's Smart Aviation Cluster for a wide range of skills and consultation in technical challenges.

UK Power Networks Services will be subcontracted to advise on matters related to airport electrical infrastructure, to realise charging solutions for the demonstrations, and to provide advice and input for infrastructure needs and impact for a future scale-up to wide use of electric aircraft, connecting power demand to sustainable electrical power sources.

The 2ZERO team believes that an effective demonstration of hybrid-electric aircraft in an integrated system, including the necessary charging and energy storage infrastructure, could catalyse a fundamental shift in regional airline operations. Emissions would be reduced by up to 70 percent with hybrid-electric aircraft and entirely with a subsequent generation of all-electric aircraft.

Successful demonstration up to 19 seats and 1 MW of power will help to shape regulations and standards which currently have gaps for these new classes of aircraft and airport operations. 2ZERO is an important step towards being part of an exciting new market, forecast by UBS to be worth $178 to $192 billion globally between 2028 and 2040.

"With 2ZERO, we are ready to jump start the future of aviation with clean electric power," said Ampaire's Ying.

The 2ZERO programme runs from December 2020 to May 2022.

Contact details from our directory:
Ampaire, Inc Design Services, Electric Power Controllers, Airborne Electrical Power Supplies, Electric Engines, Airframer
Rolls-Royce Electrical (was Siemens eAircraft) Electric Motors, Electric Engines, Storage Batteries, Electric Batteries
Related aircraft programs:
Ampaire Electric EEL
Ampaire Eco Otter SX
Related directory sectors:
Engines
Electrical Power Systems
Electrical Components
Design