The growth in air transport continues unabated. Historically traffic has almost doubled every 15 years or so (i.e. to be 4 times greater by 2050 compared with 2020) and the Industry is predicting (and planning for) that trend to continue for the foreseeable future. This pattern of growth has resisted multiple oil crises, 9-11, and the 2008 global financial crisis. It is reflected in massive order backlogs for the major manufacturers and appears resilient even to technical issues such as those tragically encountered by the Boeing 737MAX.
Alongside this is a growing awareness that air travel is having a significant impact on the environment. This is reflected in the EU Flightpath 2050 targets; a 75% reduction in CO2 emissions per passenger kilometre, a 90% reduction in NOx emissions and a 65% reduction in perceived noise. While the sector has made substantial progress over the last 50 years in addressing some of these factors, the pace of improvement is slowing as opportunities to do so on existing aircraft diminish and we remain a long way from reversing the impact on the environment. Hence it is time for the industry to embrace a paradigm shift. If we are to realise improving emissions that are moving towards the 2050 targets, then this paradigm shift needs to be embraced now and wholeheartedly.
A recent BBC report summarises the likelihood of the UK becoming net-zero Carbon by 2050. The figures from BEIS in this report are based on assumptions about Carbon Capture, advanced Nuclear Power, and alternative fuel production and are not dissimilar from other analyses. Neither Carbon Capture nor alternative fuels (e.g. Hydrogen) are expected to develop fast enough to make a meaningful contribution. The data suggests that the aviation sector will remain one of the main contributors to Carbon production. Electric Flight is the key to sustainable aviation before 2050.
INNOVATIVE HYBRID ELECTRIC TECHNOLOGY
The Electric Aviation Group (EAG) has designed a 70+ seat Hybrid Electric Regional Aircraft (HERA) which is a technically and commercially viable point of entry into the nascent sustainable mass air transport market. Our aircraft will be available for delivery in 2028. There is a ready-made market of ~3000 aircraft to replace ~1800 ATR72s and ~1200 Bombardier Dash 8 which is a ~$80 Billion market opportunity.
Our 70+ seat hybrid electric regional aircraft offers low noise 24/7 operation with short take-off and landing (STOL) performance using our proprietary Gear Assisted Take-off Run (GATOR) system. The STOL performance and better operating economics of our aircraft will open new route opportunities for airlines. HERA can utilise small regional airports, deliver passengers nearer to their destination to secure an end to end reduction in carbon footprint and bring convenience for passenger that can translate to premium fares. The 24/7 STOL performance will enable our aircraft to land in the proximity of warehouses which will enable private sector cargo fleet managers such Amazon Air, FedEx, UPS, etc. to optimise the last mile terrestrial logistics and delivery system. The whisper quiet STOL operations allow the overnight collection and delivery of parcels from small regional airfields near to urban population centres so reducing the carbon and noise footprint of terrestrial logistic chains and, importantly, the cost of last mile delivery. COVID-19 has brought a surge in online parcel services and this will open new global markets for HERA that are blocked to conventional aircraft.
Our aircraft also deploy an innovative Potential Energy Recovery System (PERS) allowing battery neutral operation i.e. no charging infrastructure needed. The PERS system will enable no charging of batteries upon landing and quick turnaround time to maximise airlines revenue potential. Our aircraft can fly to more airports and destination due to its STOL and battery-neutral performance. The Cabin flex version of our aircraft will permit passenger operation during the day and cargo operation at night, enabling airlines to maximise their revenue potential. Our 70+ seat passenger and cargo convertible hybrid electric workhorse can be certified for flight in this decade. HERA will have a future proof, whisper quiet short take off and landing (STOL) airframe allowing 24/7 operations to make an early contribution to profitable and sustainable aviation. This can get Union Jack tailfins flying silently and emission free, 24/7 to spearhead UK international trade.
To achieve airframe longevity, our aircraft has been future proofed should an alternative energy source becomes available before 2030. The airframe could be turned into all-electric or carbon-neutral as the battery energy density improves or alternative fuels (hydrogen, biofuels, synthetic aviation fuels) and associated powertrain technologies mature and become affordable. This formulation is protected by comprehensive EAG patents that collectively reduce emissions during take off, landing and in flight operations. EAG’s conservative analysis suggests that successful integration of their proprietary technologies into a new 70+ seat aircraft can potentially increase the operating profit per aircraft by 50% minimum compared to existing regional aircraft, like ATR72, on equivalent sectors. EAG’s patent portfolio can be scaled for any size of airframe and retrofitted, so existing airframes become more electric, more green and more profitable.
Our 70+ seat hybrid electric aircraft would be a blueprint for larger, long range aircraft concepts as the propulsion and energy storage technologies develop.
BUILT IN BRITAIN
The Electric Aviation Group aims to promote the United Kingdom as the best country in the world for Electric and Sustainable Aviation and to stimulate interest in the sector by bringing together a consortium of aerospace industry companies who will build the world’s first ever 70+ seater Hybrid Electric Regional Aircraft (HERA).
EAG’s approach to zero emissions is to develop a regional aircraft, built in the UK, securing 25000+ jobs with partners within the UK.
The race to build the first hybrid electric 70+ seater passenger plane is on globally and Britain has the infrastructure and skills to develop the first ever BRITISH BUILT 70+ seater hybrid electric plane with the aim of achieving net zero emissions. This aircraft will be built in Britain and will involve all the key aerospace stakeholders from Industry to Academia.
We believe a fully BRITISH built hybrid electric aircraft will be a major achievement on the same lines as Concorde and this will be great for Britain, great for British Aviation and great for our post Brexit Global Britain story on skills and expertise. Added to that will be large scale job creation, increased tax revenues and a skills upsurge.