Embraer and EDP have signed a partnership for electric aircraft research.

    EDP operates in all segments of the Brazilian energy sector. The Portuguese-based multinational announced a financial contribution for the acquisition of energy storage and battery charging technologies for Embraer’s all-electric demonstrator aircraft project.

    The project uses the EMB-203 Ipanema as its test bed and the prototype, which is already in development, is scheduled to complete its inaugural flight in 2021.

    Embraer says the investment is part of the cooperation agreement signed by both companies to advance their shared knowledge of energy storage and battery charging technologies for aviation which is one of the main challenges of the project. The partnership also aims to investigate the applicability of high voltage batteries for the electric propulsion systems of small aircraft and evaluate the main operating characteristics such as weight, efficiency and power quality, thermal control and management, cycling loading and unloading and operational safety.

    Luís Carlos Affonso, Embraer’s vice president of engineering and corporate strategy commented: “Embraer’s history of creating strategic partnerships through agile cooperation makes us one of the most recognised Brazilian companies for stimulating global knowledge networks, which in turn significantly increases the country’s competitiveness.

    “It is a pleasure to welcome EDP into this scientific research endeavour designed to build a sustainable future. Innovation is one of the pillars of Embraer’s new strategy for the coming years.”

    Technological development

    According to Embraer, the initiative seeks to accelerate the combined knowledge of the technologies necessary for the use and integration of batteries and electric motors in order to increase the energy efficiency of the propulsion systems of aircraft.

    A small single-engine aircraft is being used for the evaluations as the test bed to perform a primary assessment of electrification technologies. Ground tests have taken place at Embraer’s facilities in Botucatu in preparation for the first flight which will take place at Embraer’s Gavião Peixoto unit.

    Embraer says that electrification is just one project in a series of initiatives being developed by the company and the entire aeronautical industry which are aimed at ensuring the commitment to environmental sustainability.