On May 15th and 16th a MAHEPA Consortium meeting was held at the headquarters of project leader Pipistrel Vertical Solutions d.o.o. in Ajdovščina, Slovenia. Project partners introduced the progress made on advanced battery charging concepts, energy recuperation, laboratory tested emission map and comparisons of alternative fuel use, and a PMCD module for both fuel cell and internal combustion engine driven aircraft.
For the next period ground testing of integrated ICE-hybrid powertrain is scheduled, which presents one of the milestones in the MAHEPA project. Lead partner will prepare a Panthera airframe for integration of the ICE-hybrid components and conduct structural tests of the airframe. Following post integration testing of the motor, generator, inverters, PMCD module, battery, BMS and HMI, the system will be tested on ground to demonstrate the capability of meeting upcoming engine integration requirements.
By adopting a modular approach to propulsion system components design, two variants of a serial hybrid-electric powertrains will be tested in flight. The first uses a fuel-driven generator to charge the batteries and power the electric motor, while the second relies on fuel cells to produce power enabling zero-emission flight. Data from flight tests will be used to model future operating scenarios of hybrid electric aviation paving the way towards greener aircraft.
The project is developing key technology and roadmap for market implementation of future hybrid-electric airplanes. MAHEPA will deliver new, optimized propulsion components with increased reliability suitable for in-flight testing and future commercial deployment to small aircraft. The first flights of two four-seat airplanes equipped with MAHEPA hybrid electric powertrains are scheduled for 2020.