ITP Aero is lead­ing two R&D projects on elec­tric propul­sion sys­tems for urban and region­al mobil­i­ty, with a total bud­get of 13 mil­lion euros, which will be the first propul­sion sys­tems of these char­ac­ter­is­tics made in Spain.

Despite the fact that the elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of ground propul­sion sys­tems has reached a high lev­el of tech­no­log­i­cal and man­u­fac­tur­ing matu­ri­ty, the strict safe­ty and ener­gy den­si­ty require­ments applic­a­ble to air trans­port make it dif­fi­cult to use elec­tric propul­sion in this sec­tor.

For this rea­son, ITP Aero is com­mit­ted to the devel­op­ment of dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies that enable more sus­tain­able air trans­port sys­tems. In order to inte­grate the entire sys­tem, the aero­nau­tics com­pa­ny is aim­ing for five dif­fer­ent propul­sion sys­tem vari­ants with a very wide pow­er range from 60 to 600 kilo­watts.

The urban and region­al elec­tric mobil­i­ty sec­tor is set to be a growth mar­ket over the next decade and ITP Aero is prepar­ing tech­no­log­i­cal­ly for the antic­i­pat­ed demand. These zero-emis­sion elec­tric propul­sion sys­tems will tar­get urban and inter-urban mobil­i­ty appli­ca­tions, such as air taxis, which can pro­vide fast city-to-air­port ser­vices, intra- and inter-city trav­el, emer­gency ser­vices and logis­tics oper­a­tions.

In the high pow­er range, these dis­trib­uted elec­tric propul­sion sys­tems can be used in region­al appli­ca­tions with lim­it­ed range. In a sec­ond phase and in line with ITP Aero’s dis­rup­tive tech­nol­o­gy devel­op­ment plan, the com­pa­ny plans to ‘hybridise’ these types of propul­sion sys­tems for use in region­al avi­a­tion.

Erlantz Cristóbal, CTO of ITP Aero, com­ment­ed: “At ITP Aero we are com­mit­ted to the decar­bon­i­sa­tion of the aero­nau­ti­cal sec­tor and dis­trib­uted elec­tric propul­sion is a key tech­nol­o­gy to achieve this.

“These projects are a mile­stone in our mar­ket diver­si­fi­ca­tion strat­e­gy, and we fore­see that by the end of this decade there will be a strong devel­op­ment in the demand for this type of air­craft, reach­ing fig­ures of between 300 and 600 air­craft per year.”

Both projects are being devel­oped thanks to pub­lic-pri­vate col­lab­o­ra­tion. Specif­i­cal­ly, the project, called Aper­turas, is sub­sidised by the Span­ish Cen­tre for Tech­no­log­i­cal Devel­op­ment and Inno­va­tion (CDTI) attached to the Span­ish Min­istry of Sci­ence and Inno­va­tion through the Aero­nau­ti­cal Tech­nol­o­gy Pro­gramme with­in the EU’s frame­work of the Recov­ery, Trans­for­ma­tion and Resilience Plan.

In addi­tion to ITP Aero, Ingeteam, Egile, Zeleros, Umiles-Next, tech­nol­o­gy cen­tres and uni­ver­si­ties such as Tec­na­lia, CTA, CEIT, Mon­drag­on Unib­ert­si­tatea and UPVa­len­cia are also par­tic­i­pat­ing.

Like­wise, the project called Pre­lu­dio is sub­sidised by the Basque Gov­ern­men­t’s Hazitek 2022 busi­ness R&D sup­port pro­gramme, in which Ingeteam, Alcon­za, Antec, Suprasys, Egile, tech­nol­o­gy cen­tres and uni­ver­si­ties such as Tec­na­lia, CTA, CEIT, Mon­drag­on Unib­ert­si­tatea, IKERLAN and IRDE are also tak­ing part, in addi­tion to ITP Aero.