⚡️ ELECTRIC ✈️ AVIATION - MARKET UPDATE - 15/12/2021
EVTOL / ADVANCED / URBAN AIR MOBILITY (UAM / AAM)
Vertical Aerospace completed their SPAC merger with Broadstone Acquisition Corp and are set to trade on the New York Stock Exchange from tomorrow under the new ticker $EVTL. The company also unveiled a full-scale model of their upcoming VX4 aircraft in a virtual event (via Vertical Aerospace):
Silicon anode Li-ion battery specialists Amprius Technologies (whose investors include Google co-founder Eric Schmidt) claimed a breakthrough in fast-charging battery technology - 0 to 80% charge in six minutes. "A Fortune 100 company" is said the be "sampling the technology." The company's cell specific energy of 370 Wh/kg will be targeted at "...the rapidly growing EV market and into the broader electric-mobility markets, including micro-mobility and aviation." (via Amprius, FutureFlight).
ANAQUA | LILIUM
US Intellectual Property (IP) management specialists Anaqua signed a deal with Germany's Lilium that will see the company use their AQX platform to manage the eVTOL manufacturer's IP (via Globe Newswire).
IDA IRELAND | VERTICAL AEROSPACE
Dómhnal Slattery (Avolon CEO and recently appointed adviser to Vertical Aerospace CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick) is reported to have engaged the Irish government's Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) agency IDA to scope out potential manufacturing sites for production of the eVTOL manufacturer's (recently renamed) VX4 aircraft.
Slattery was reported to say that Britain / Northern Ireland and Ireland were likely to contend for the company's European manufacturing footprint, noting that “...IDA have identified a significant site in Ireland" and going on to remark that:
"This is one of the new industries of the future. It is akin to high-end car manufacturing, making three or four of these a day. So you don’t need foundries or lots of steel." (The Irish Times).
A Hanwha Engineering & Construction (E&C) led consortium were selected as the preferred bidders for a mega-project in Seoul, South Korea. The sports, cultural and convention complex will reportedly include "...a new navigation system, take-off and landing fields and charging technologies" to support Urban Air Mobility (UAM) operations (via Aju Daily).
Volocopter announced that their 'VoloPort Handbook' was complete and interested parties could contact them to obtain a copy. Written in partnership with Arup, Bayards and GRAFT architects it is said to detail the company's modular VoloPort concept. The prefabricated buildings are said to start with a footprint as small as 25 x 25m, are stackable and can be adapted to land and sea locations or "above infrastructure spaces" (via Volocopter):
FIRST RESONANCE | JOBY AVIATION
In discussion of industrial automation company First Resonance's $14m Series A investment CEO (and former SpaceX engineer) Karan Talati mentioned that his company's "factory operating system" was being used by Joby Aviation (via dot.LA).
Chinese eVTOL startup TCab Tech unveiled a "full scale demonstrator" of their E20 tilt-rotor electric air taxi - the E20 - at their "upcoming R&D centre in Shanghai", along with a proposed model vertiport (via TCab Tech):
Electrified Automation in the UK noted a marked increase in demand from "several aerospace customers" for their automated coil winding, magnet placement and test equipment technology. MD Jim Winchester noted that the company's offerings were particularly "well-suited to high powered permanent magnet motors that have concentrated coil-windings, so our technology has great synergy with the requirements of the aerospace industry" (via Aero Mag, Electrified Automation):
SMALL PROPELLER, COMMUTER (19-SEATS OR LESS)
GARMIN | HEART AEROSPACE
Eviation unveiled the six-passenger, executive configuration cabin design for their Alice aircraft - re-confirming in the release the aircraft's 2,500 pound payload, 440 nautical mile range and use of two MagniX magni650 electric propulsion units (via Cision):
BAE Systems will invest millions of dollars into their energy storage, controls and power conversion facility in Endicott, New York. The focus for the investment is on expanding existing electric propulsion expertise (gained in transit bus and marine vessels) into the aerospace sector. The company will look to address demand for "new products in the aerospace industry" and "develop and deliver important capabilities for an emerging travel ecosystem" and the "future of flight". (via ATI).
German aircraft manufacturer Flight Design (who also have a presence in Czechia and Ukraine) was granted EASA CS-23 certification for their piston engine powered, two-seat F2 fixed wing aircraft, of which an electric variant - the F2e - is under development. The F2e was developed in collaboration with Siemens eAircraft (since acquired by Rolls-Royce) and will feature their RRP 70 electric power unit (EPU) and a Garmin G3X avionics suite - full specs here (via Flight Design).
Sint Maarten's national airline WINAIR (92.05% owned by the St Maarten govt.) had a mortgage loan from the Dutch government (7.95% ownership) extended by a further $1.5m to a total of $4.5m USD. A turnaround 'masterplan' being drafted for the company was reported to include a look at hybrid-electric flying between the islands WINAIR serves, along with a "route map which local parties can use to further work out electric aviation in the Caribbean." WINAIR's fleet consists of 4 x Twin Otters and 3 x ATR42 aircraft. (via The Daily Herald).
REGIONAL AIRCRAFT / MW+
ALASKA AIRLINES | UNITED AIRLINES | ZEROAVIA
ZeroAvia's total funding now stands at $115m USD following an additional $35m USD coming in from Alaska Airlines and United Airlines. United's money comes with a firm order for 50 of the company's ZA2000-RJ engines, with an option on 50 more. The new funding will support development of 40-80 seat hydrogen powered airliners - turboprops by 2026, regional jets by 2028 - such as United's fleet of CRJ-550s. The new investors join existing backers that include Amazon's Climate Pledge Fund the Bill Gates backed Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Shell Ventures (via United, ZeroAvia):
DE HAVILLAND CANADA | ZEROAVIA
De Havilland Aircraft of Canada and ZeroAvia announced the signing of an MoU that will see the companies work to develop both a line-fit and retrofit programme for the Dash 8-400 aircraft (of which the global, in-service fleet is c. 625 units). The deal includes options for De Havilland to purchase up to 50 of ZeroAvia's 2MW+ ZA2000 units and for the development of a flight demonstrator aircraft to aid certification.
Rolls-Royce reported that their PSG1 hybrid-electric powertrain that is "about the size of a beer keg" had generated over 1MW of power at a newly renovated testbed in Bristol, UK. Coupled with the same AE2100 turboprop engine found on the C130 Hercules transport aircraft, testing of the system will now continue "with the aim of reaching up to 2.5 megawatts." (via Rolls-Royce):
CONNECT AIRLINES | UNIVERSAL HYDROGEN
Universal Hydrogen received a firm order for 12 Dash-8 300 "green hydrogen conversion kits" from startup Connect Airlines (a subsidiary of Boston-based charter operator Waltzing Matilda Aviation). The deal includes options on another 12 of the hydrogen fuel cell based powertrains for "other aircraft types" with installation targeted for 2025, and the subsequent "long-term" supply of hydrogen fuel in modular capsules (via BusinessWire).
Airbus are expanding in Spain confirming that both their latest Zero Emission Development Centre (ZEDC) and an outpost of their UpNext innovation hub will land in the country. The ZEDC will join companion sites already announced in Bremen, Germany and Nantes, France, the Spanish site focusing on "non-propulsive energy, systems for fuel cell cooling and fiber optics, as well as carbon fiber tanks for storing cryogenic liquid hydrogen."
The UpNext entity will support innovation in "the study and demonstration of hydrogen-powered non-propulsive energies as well as future tanking operations applying advancements in vision-based technology" (via Airbus).
GKN FOKKER AEROSTRUCTURES | JETSUPPORT | KLM ENGINEERING & MAINTENANCE | SAM XL | TORAY ADVACNED COMPOSITES | TU DELFT
Composite liquid hydrogen tanks for civil aviation - with Toray Advanced Composites - development of ‘long-life’ liquid hydrogen tank
Thermoplastics for sustainable aviation - with GKN Fokker Aerostructures - development and validation of thermoplastic composite materials for primary aerostructure and advanced manufacturing processes