Electrification Of Aircraft Enables Sustainable, Net-zero Carbon Emission Aviation

Aircraft electrification eliminates carbon emissions at the source and is one pathway to sustainable aviation with net-zero carbon emission aircraft. Advanced Air Mobility efforts include development of electric power for vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL), as well as electric conventional takeoff and landing (eCTOL) solutions. Both aircraft types feature battery-powered electric propulsion systems.

eVTOL vehicles are typically associated with urban mobility and air taxi applications (think Jetsons). eCTOL aircraft are used for regional and cargo aircraft operating within a range of 250 to 500 nautical miles.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) represents, leads and serves the airline industry, with 290 airline members in over 120 countries. In October of 2021, IATA members passed a resolution committing to achieve net-zero carbon emissions from their operations by 2050. Their strategy to reach the goal will include elimination of emissions at the source, carbon offsetting and carbon capture.

More-Electric Aircraft: where all-electric started

More-electric aircraft (MEA) been in production for over three decades. Increasingly these utilize electric power for non-propulsive systems. The movement toward more-electric aircraft has been driven by the desire for improvements in aircraft weight, fuel efficiency, emissions, life-cycle costs, maintainability and reliability. While significant strides have been made to improve the emissions from traditional fossil fuel burning engines, other avenues must be examined.

The global aviation industry is pursuing the goal of net-zero carbon emissions, driving momentum for aircraft electrification. As the industry evolves from fossil-fuel engines to battery-powered electric propulsion, aircraft are also transitioning from hydraulic, pneumatic and fueldraulic motion control to fully electric motion control technologies.

Electrification poses new sets of challenges. This includes heat management for motors, controllers and battery packs. New technology aircraft must perform missions successfully, be economically viable, safe and certified for flight.

“Efforts in electrification will play a key role in making good on the commitment to net zero. Parker Aerospace is aligned with solutions and significant technical know-how that will jumpstart advanced air mobility vehicle for vertical takeoff and landing, as well as conventional types.”

– VP of Technology and Innovation Tracy Rice, Parker Aerospace

Parker Aerospace core expertise fast tracks the road to certification

Parker Aerospace is helping to kickstart all-electric flight by adding new products and technologies to its wide range of products and services.

Technology building blocks for electrification can be used across the entire group, significant improvement of product reliability, bringing savings in non-recurring engineering costs. Development timelines have also been realized.

Parker’s aerospace team collaborates with the best minds in motion control. This includes its parent company Parker Hannifin Corporation, a global leader in motion control.

Parker Aerospace is focused on engineering four key building blocks for aircraft electrification:

Controllers – Rapid and efficient certifications, while integrating new technologies and materials, such as silicon carbide and gallium nitride.

Electric motors – Parker’s motor design center is building on leading-edge designs to produce solutions that offer improved and more efficient performance in smaller and lighter-weight packages.

Actuators – High-lift flap actuation is undergoing development for eCTOL applications. Patented eSync technology uses a single electronics control unit to command multiple motor-driven actuators along the flaps and slats on a wing, saving significant weight and enabling thinner wing designs.

Thermal management—For aircraft electronic controllers, electric motors and battery systems, thermal management solutions employ a variety of proven Parker components. This includes electric cooling pumps, heat exchangers, valves, conveyance equipment, advanced thermal materials and more.

Electrifying opportunities

Parker systems and components are on virtually every aircraft flying today. We dedicate significant resources to a more sustainable tomorrow, applying a portfolio of technologies toward electrification and other strategies that will lead to net-zero carbon emissions. With experience of dozens of systems and thousands of aircraft components from design through manufacturing, certification, and aftermarket support, customers can rely on Parker Aerospace as a trusted partner for the life of their programs.

Visit here to learn how advanced air mobility can help your company work towards achieving electrification vision.

This post was contributed by Grant Puckett, chief engineer, electrification at Parker Aerospace.