Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


ROTOPOWER — Result In Brief

Project ID: 323419
Funded under: FP7-JTI
Country: United Kingdom

Innovation powers electric aircraft forward

Electrification is considered as the most promising direction for aviation technologies development. EU-funded researchers worked on the way energy is converted in order to build more efficient and reliable air vehicles.
Innovation powers electric aircraft forward
The pressing need to reduce fuel burn and gaseous emissions of aircraft points to the use of more electrically powered systems. Many of the potential benefits in the replacement of hydraulic and pneumatic systems with electric ones are connected with weight savings.

Although the technology for all-electric flight is not yet mature, hybrid solutions for aircraft and rotorcraft have been suggested. Electromechanical swashplate actuators for helicopters have already been designed to reduce toxic hydraulic fluids and fuel consumption.

Researchers working on the EU-funded project ROTOPOWER (Development of key technology components for high power-density power converters for rotorcraft swashplate actuators) developed power electronic converters to be integrated with the electromechanical actuators they will be controlling.

Prototype high-performance power converters were designed based on the results of numerical simulations of the electrical drive needed to actuate the rotor swashplate. The functionalities of the prototype devices were tested according to the preliminary design review requirements.

Specifically, individual components were defined during device trade studies and then procured, printed circuit boards were manufactured and populated, and cases for both prototypes were manufactured. The final step was to assemble all of these into two power converters and test their functionalities.

ROTOPOWER provided key components ensuring the reliable and efficient operation of helicopter electromechanical actuators. However, it represents only part of the research efforts devoted under the Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) to the electrification of air vehicles.

The ROTOPOWER project team is a member of a bigger consortium that includes aircraft and helicopter manufacturers and their suppliers working on halving the environmental impact of rotorcraft operations. A broad variety of innovative concepts are being tested to move one step closer towards all-electric aircraft.

Related information


Electric aircraft, rotorcraft, swashplate actuators, ROTOPOWER, power converters
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