Electra Aero, a hybrid-electric, ultra-short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft company, has successfully completed trials of its initial hybrid-electric propulsion system, reports a press release.

This power-system is being integrated into Electra’s piloted demonstrator aircraft, to trial and illustrate its eSTOL performance and fuel-burn savings. The technology was first developed for Electra’s 9-passenger eSTOL craft.

It is designed so that hydrogen and battery-electric propulsion systems can be used when these technologies are commercially viable. To support such goals, Electra is exploring green hydrogen with its partner Plug Power, a leading provider of hydrogen fuel cells.

JP Stewart, Electra’s Vice President and General Manager, commented, ”Tightly coupling airframe and propulsion systems is the hallmark of Electra’s unique and scalable approach to providing net-zero emissions for regional and transport-category aircraft by 2050.”

He continued, “Electra’s eSTOL aircraft uses this patent-pending technology for the urban and regional aircraft market, allowing a reduction of the 5 billion tons of CO2 created by commercial vehicles and personal cars every year.”  

Testing of the hybrid-electric system took place at Electra’s propulsion development facility in Switzerland. The propulsion uses a combination of high-power battery packs and a turbogenerator to power eight electric motors and propellers.

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