Rendered image of the Lilium Jet / Lilium .
PROJECT: Research & Technological Developments for Electric Aircraft.
ACHIEVEMENT: Development of a new range of formulations for obtaining coatings with high adherence, long lasting and frost resistant properties on composite and/or aluminium substrates (painted or not) and development of a new range of formulations with good adherence, electrical conductivity and shielding properties of composite materials and/or reinforcement materials that can be embedded in the composite.
The aim of the E-Flight project is to anticipate and respond to the challenges that the electrification of aeronautical propulsion systems will generate in the aerostructures sector by developing products, assemblies, and functional solutions with high technological content required by electrified aircrafts. The electrification of propulsion systems is a key element in the decarbonisation of air transport. It has a direct impact on aircraft emissions, and it offers ways to make aircraft operation more efficient and quieter, as well as to reduce maintenance costs. All these objectives require research and exploration in key areas for aircraft operability and efficiency (e.g., aerostructures and auxiliary systems). The adoption and integration of 100% electrical systems with new components, sizes, and power never before used in aircraft will generate new constraints on the aircraft structure.
In the future, the aerostructure will be heavily shaped by the electric propulsion system, and the associated energy storage system, which will have to be built into the aircraft (i.e., battery pack). The battery pack is a product that has matured in other sectors (e.g., the automotive industry), and as such, it will have to be adapted for safe integration into the aircraft. Moreover, all auxiliary systems (e.g., the anti-icing system) must be electrified and follow a parallel integration path. E-Flight is an initiative of four Basque companies (e.g., AERNNOVA, INNOMAT, MUGAPE, and ORKLI) that research and develop new materials, manufacturing technologies, and aerostructure configurations. These are capable of integrating energy storage and electrical systems, which are critical for electric aircraft in the future. The challenge is to configure a lightweight battery pack to perform the structural function of weight-reduction contribution. Another challenge is to integrate elements (e.g., the propulsion system) with the battery packs and auxiliary systems (e.g., wiring, safety, and thermal management elements) without compromising the weight and/or manoeuvrability of the aircraft.
For this project, Innomat, in collaboration with the Tecnalia technology centre, has a twofold objective::
- Development of a new range of formulations aimed at obtaining coatings with high adherence and long-lasting and anti-frost capacities on composite and/or aluminium substrates (painted or not). For its development, the formulations and deposition technologies of different types of coatings will be adapted to the composite substrate with aeronautical requirements.
- Development of a new range of formulations with good adherence, electric conductivity and shielding properties of composite materials and/or strengthening materials which can be embedded in the composite. For its development, polymeric coating formulations and deposition technologies and materials that may provide the required shielding properties will be adapted to the composite substrate with aeronautical requirements.
The “E-FLIGHT” project has been funded by the Business R&D Support Program – HAZITEK of the Basque Government. This initiative is co-financed by the Basque Government, through the Department of Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment, and the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund 2021-2027 (ERDF).