The first eight-year phase of the European Union’s Clean Sky joint technology initiative – which targets significant reductions in noise, CO2 and NOX emissions for air transportation – came to an end last year.
Included in this activity was the flight testing of a more “green” electrical environmental control system on Airbus’ in-house A320 testbed aircraft, while a new high voltage direct current (HVDC) electrical network underwent ground testing.
“Phase One gave us an opportunity to investigate solutions in depth,” said Michel Guigou, head of Overall Systems Design (OSD) for Airbus Commercial Aircraft’s Research and Technology team. “Together with Liebherr and GKN, we considered the best use of energy aboard aircraft, typically electrical technologies.” Using electricity for the onboard environmental control system reduces fuel consumption as well as emissions when compared to the traditional method – which draws air from the aircraft’s jet engines.
Clean Sky’s first phase also provided the opportunity to further explore HVDC electrical networks that are lighter and less complex than the A/C (alternating current) technology now used on aircraft. “Better architecture and technologies mean we can expect a competitive solution to be ready by 2025,” added Airbus electrical power engineer Gaetan Bisson.
Additionally, research into noise reduction technologies for flight paths flown during airport approaches and departures was conducted in conjunction with Thales – evaluating systems to optimally manage the flight phase or trajectory, thereby reducing aircraft operational noise.