A new lightweight and powerful Hybrid aircraft engine set to revolutionise the general aviation market
To help reduce carbon emissions and noise pollution, Faradair® is developing an innovative hybrid aviation engine for the general aviation sector
Hybraero is the name for this new engine venture and the first hybrid engine to be produced is called the ‘H600’.
Developed in joint venture with British motorsport and advanced technology specialists, Prodrive, it will incorporate a new 300hp engine designed to run on JetA1 fuel and cleaner ‘biojet’ fuel where available, eradicating the need for expensive Avgas. The Hybraero H600 also incorporates twin electric motors able to deliver an additional 300hp for up to 10 minutes of ‘electric-only’ flight time, whereupon the engine will take over and also recharge the battery, alternatively maximum take-off power could be 600hp in combined power mode.
A key feature of this new engine is the ability to switch propulsion source in the event of an emergency should either power source fail. This provides the pilot with the ability to find a safe landing area outside of glideslope range, curing a problem faced by all existing single engine pilots in the event of a stoppage.
“When we looked at the market and found relatively antiquated propulsion systems still being produced for general aviation, we saw an opportunity to create something new,” explains Neil Cloughley, Managing Director of Faradair® Aerospace Limited. “The Hybraero H600 hybrid engine fills the gap for a lightweight and powerful engine, with a better fuel burn rate and reduced noise and emissions capability, all bundled together into a package that could be fitted to any new aircraft or even retro- fitted to existing aircraft. However the backup safety feature of switchable power is one of the most exciting features”
This market-changing proposition will utilise additive manufacturing techniques (3D Printing) and the latest technologies available to deliver a 21st century propulsion system that combines a clean sheet designed Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) and electric motors to begin our transition to cleaner and quieter flight opportunity. The Hybraero H600 hybrid engine is designed to be a direct replacement engine for existing six cylinder piston engines, sitting within the same footprint and mounting points, offering power levels equal to many Turboprops for a fraction of the costs.
“Electric aircraft development has been hitting the headlines recently however the biggest restriction to further take up is battery technology,” continues Cloughley. “Faradair® has specified a requirement for a hybrid engine that combines electric and ICE power to deliver a range of operational capabilities today”
The engine is designed to run on JetA1 or biojet fuel as this becomes more widely adopted across the commercial aerospace sector. Research has shown that, on a full carbon lifecycle basis, using the equivalent quantity of some alternative fuels could reduce CO2 emissions by around 80% compared to the jet fuel they replace. This new engine will be able to accept these new fuels, replacing expensive and polluting Avgas or diesel alternatives.
“Offering single engine operators the safety backup of a twin propulsion system, on a single propulsion lever is the way of the future,” highlights Cloughley. “Operators will have the choice of whether to reduce their fuel burn and emissions by taking off on electric power only or they may choose to keep the electric in reserve in the event of an ICE stoppage, allowing them to maintain flight for up to 10 minutes to select a safe landing area.”
The first prototype engine will begin testing next year (2017).
Cloughley continues: “Since we announced our partnership with Prodrive last year, we have developed the relationship and it is fantastic to see the enthusiasm from their engineering team toward this new challenge, their engines are world class and we cannot wait to share more details about the H600 once it begins testing”
The Hybraero H600 hybrid engine will be used to power the Faradair® ‘BEHA’ (Bio Electric Hybrid Aircraft) that was launched in November 2014. The aircraft is continuing its development with design enhancements and modifications in recent months, and a first flight target now set for 2020. The short take-off and landing capable, triple box-wing regional utility aircraft will demonstrate the unique opportunity for hybrid flight aircraft, increasing quiet use of the skies as a viable local transport opportunity.
Prodrive is no stranger to hybrid technologies having worked on hybrid vehicle systems for 15 years; its recent development of silicon carbide multiport DCDC converters demonstrates the high level of expertise in hybrid technology and their engineers have designed and built engines for Aston Martin racing cars, among other top level engine creation projects, giving Faradair® huge confidence in their capability to develop and deliver the Hybraero H600 engine.
David Richards, chairman of Prodrive said: “We have become accustomed to hybrid cars and the environmental benefits they offer, so it makes complete sense to take the same technologies proven in the automotive industry and apply them to aviation. Unlike with cars though, hybrid engines can also offer light aircraft significant safety benefits as well as the ability to reduce noise pollution in urban areas during take and off and landing. It is yet another project for Prodrive in the aerospace sector and one which shows just how much the company has diversified over the last decade.”
Faradair® is leading the commercial and finance programme for Hybraero with discussions now taking place for Series A funding, any investors interested in the programme should contact Faradair® for more details.
To find out more about this exciting aviation project visit www.Faradair.com
Faradair® can also be found at: www.facebook.com/Faradair and Twitter @Faradair
For further information about Prodrive visit www.prodrive.com
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Notes to editors
Hybraero Limited is a special purpose holding company co-owned by Faradair® Aerospace Limited and Prodrive Motorsport Limited. The H600 hybrid engine concept was formed when Faradair® could not find an engine that delivered the performance and safety requirements they needed for the BEHA new aircraft programme.
The H600 hybrid engine is intended to be made available to other aircraft and helicopter manufacturers, to enable faster integration of hybrid propulsion across the general aviation sector. All IP associated with the new H600 engine is retained within Hybraero Limited and both Faradair® and Prodrive will consider all options when it comes to the certification and manufacture of the new engine once it has completed ground and air trials.
One aircraft manufacturer has already offered an airframe for flight testing once the engine is ready and it is anticipated that order book interest will build over the coming year. The ICE engine element of this propulsion system will be lighter and more powerful than any equivalent sized engine in the market today and for the foreseeable future, offering a 21st century propulsion alternative to antiquated Avgas designs. Pricing of the engine is anticipated to be similar to existing new engines with future delivery slots subject to regulatory certification timetable.
Faradair® is the new aviation company based in the heart of the Cotswolds in the UK that recently won the ‘New Business of the Year’ award from the Cirencester Chamber of Commerce. In just 18 months, Neil Cloughley has created a team, a company, a brand and an initial aircraft design concept that could significantly increase urban aviation opportunity with fantastic short take-off and landing slow flight capability, class leading safety features and low environmental impact that is set to shape an aviation sector.
The company is currently engaged in fund raising, with interest now coming from local and national development agencies. Over the last year Faradair® has pushed its way to the front of the hybrid aerospace sector, with powerful groups such as NASA and Airbus now putting forward similar visions to those first ventured by Faradair® back in November 2014.
Faradair® has a long term vision for 20+ seat regional commuter variants of BEHA, opening a range of market opportunities from urban e-mobility to light freight and patrol transport.
Prodrive is one of the world’s leading motorsport and technology groups. With its headquarters in Banbury, Oxfordshire, it employs more than 500 staff, runs motorsport programmes for Aston Martin, Subaru USA, MINI and VW and works with most of the leading vehicle manufacturers in the UK and customers in the aerospace, defence and Marine sectors, including innovative projects such as Land Rover BAR, Britain’s entry for the Americas Cup yacht race and the Faradair® ‘BEHA’ new aircraft programme.