Exciting sustainable developments at Aeronamic
Reinoud Siezen - Vice President Business Development and Programs
June! We had hoped to attend the Paris Airshow and meet our customers and partners. To catch up and share recent experiences, but also to show Aeronamic’s current developments and innovations. Well, we don’t have to explain why the Airshow in Paris was canceled, but although COVID-19 is still ongoing, we can also see bright spots in our industry. The number of flights is increasing. Domestic flights are even at their usual level and international flights are slowly starting up again. This means that our work in commercial aviation is once more on the rise. Besides, we have not been idle over the past year. Aeronamic is currently fully engaged in all kinds of sustainable developments, in the fields of electronic flying and vertical take-off and landing, as well as involvement with the CleanSky initiative. Allow us to give you an update!
As you probably know, Aeronamic is active in both defense and commercial aviation. Fortunately, military aviation has hardly changed. We have always continued servicing the F-35, as well as developing high-speed components. But, as we all know, commercial aviation took a huge hit due to the pandemic. Most of our work for this industry consists of developing, producing and servicing the A330 and A350 load and scroll compressors: components of the widebodies. Most of these aircraft, which are mainly used for international flights, have been grounded in recent months. Single aisle aircraft are back in the air again, which is a good start, since these planes also have Aeronamic parts. I’m also hopeful when it comes to international flight movements this summer. More and more travel destinations are being opened up for tourists again, a situation which vaccination programs help make possible. And in the meantime? Our product development division has been busy with all kinds of developments for the electric future of aerospace.
The future of flying: our e-compressor
Developments in hybrid and electric flying have led to a crucial need for cooling solutions. In addition to the usual air conditioning and cabin pressurization, cooling is also needed for the electronics and batteries. For the past decade, we’ve actively concentrated on this topic and, as a result, we have succeeded in developing ultra-lightweight thermal management solutions for aerospace. In fact, we came up with a revolutionary breakthrough: our high-speed centrifugal e-compressor. Together with the required controller, our next-gen e-compressor is responsible for further electrification of aircraft. But why is this such a revolutionary component? There are two reasons. The first is the component’s low weight and reduced size, which contributes to reducing the overall weight of the plane. The second reason is that it has twice the power of current comparable solutions. This component is truly unique. In fact, I would dare to say that no one else has come up with anything close to it. The e-compressor can be applied within a variety of vapor cycle refrigeration systems as well as air compression systems.
Aeronamic’s involvement with CleanSky
Along with electric flying, there is our involvement with the CleanSky initiative in all kinds of projects. Sustainability is on the top of the agendas of both the Dutch government and the European Union. In order to comply with their various climate agreements, adjustments are needed in the aviation industry. That is why we are contributing to the ELECTRA project. In close collaboration with Leonardo Helicopters and the Netherlands Aerospace Centre, we are developing a bleedless Cabin Pressurization System (CPS) for next-generation tiltrotor aircraft. This project’s main objective is to develop the optimal architecture, manufacturing, testing, and qualification of the Cabin Pressurization System. The CPS represents one of the first steps towards sustainable aviation. At this moment in time, the e-compressor – to be used for regulating cabin pressure – has passed the design review and we now are busy building a prototype. We expect this prototype to be ready for a demonstration by the end of this year. I’m really looking forward to that moment!
And there is more…
Finally, I would like to touch on another subject: vertical take-off and landing. The development of fully electric “air taxis” and urban air mobility is a whole new business that we’re getting involved in. At present, we are talking to different OEM helicopter builders to explore the possibilities of developing a very small compressor that might fit into these so-called air taxis. There is a lot going on when it comes to vertical take-off and landing. Aeronamic will write about it in its next blog – so stay tuned! I hope to catch up with you in person very soon and hear how you’re doing. But of course, you can always drop me a line!