CORDIS - EU research results

The first Hybrid Power Unit Retrofit Solution for airplanes

Project description

Sky’s the limit for the hybrid aeroplane

In a parallel hybrid electric vehicle, the single electric motor and the petrol engine are installed to deliver power in parallel. For aeroplanes, more research is needed before they can also run with electric motors. The EU-funded BLU-SPARK project is contributing to major advancements in the general aviation industry in developing and testing the world’s first parallel hybrid aeroplane. Key is the new hybrid powertrain, integrating into one efficient and compact assembly. Also, the hybrid aeroplane features an electronic structure that integrates in the AC-DC inverter the onboard charger functionalities, allowing the elimination of a very expensive and heavy component.


BLU-SPARK aims at designing, developing and testing the first parallel hybrid airplane ever produced offering the pilot top dynamic performances, more flying safety and environment protection. The proposed hybrid airplane will represent a quantic step in the general aviation industry, bringing new benefits such as: more power with boost mode, increased climbing rate when necessary, back up propulsion in case of failure of the internal combustion engine, energy savings (ensuing strong reduction of overall greenhouse gas emissions); zero gas and noise emissions in airports; reduced dependence on fossil fuels; cost savings for the users, reduced worn out of mechanical parts. These advantages will be obtained at an affordable cost, neither spoiling the airplane dynamic performances, increasing the flying range. The key of this breakthrough is the new hybrid powertrain, integrating into one efficient and compact assembly a very innovative internal combustion engine, and an above the state-of-the-art electric system, made up of extremely compact electric motor and inverter, and battery pack. In addition the hybrid airplane features an innovating electronic structure that integrates in the AC-DC inverter the on board charger functionalities allowing to eliminate a very expensive and heavy component. In the past years some prototypes of full electric airplanes have been developed and shown to the technical community; in all the cases they are all linked to some common negative characteristics like very heavy battery pack and overall airplane excessive weight, very expensive price, extremely limited autonomy, missing the possibility to be accepted in the market in comparison to conventional powertrains. Therefore, no real market penetration has been reached Business model: 2 different way of reaching the market 1 Sales of the hybrid airplane and hybrid power unit directly to the final customers 2 Sales of the Hybrid power unit to airplanes manufacturers


Net EU contribution
€ 628 250,00
10128 Torino

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Nord-Ovest Piemonte Torino
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 897 500,00

Participants (4)