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Diamond Aircraft unveils world's first serial hybrid electric aircraft

PUBLISHED: 12:37 24 June 2011 | UPDATED: 14:06 10 October 2012

Diamond Aircraft, Siemens, Austro Engine and EADS have revealed the DA36 E-Star at the International Paris Air Show. The aircraft was designed to test the hybrid electric drive concept, and it completed its first flight at Austria's Wiener Neustadt airfield last month.

Diamond Aircraft, Siemens, Austro Engine and EADS have revealed the DA36 E-Star at the International Paris Air Show.

The aircraft was designed to test the hybrid electric drive concept, and it completed its first flight at Austria’s Wiener Neustadt airfield last month.

It is hoped that system will be developed for use in large aircraft in an effort to cut emissions and fuel consumption.

Dr. Frank Anton, the initiator of electric aircraft development at Siemens, says: “A serial hybrid electric drive can be scaled for a wide range of uses, making it highly suitable for aircraft as well. The first thing we want to do is test the technology in small aircraft. In the long term, however, the drive system will also be used in large-scale aircraft. We want to cut fuel consumption and emissions by 25 percent, compared to today’s most efficient technologies. This will make air travel more sustainable.”

To date, serial hybrid electric drive has only been used in cars, so the aircraft is the first of its kind in the world. Its propeller is powered by a 70kW electric motor by Siemens, and electricity is supplied by a small Wankel engine from Austro Engine with a generator. A Siemens converter supplies the electric motor with power from the battery and the generator. The combustion engine always runs with a constant low output of 30kW. A battery system from EADS provides the increased power required during takeoff and climb, and the accumulator is recharged during cruising.

Throughout the rest of the Paris Air Show, the DA36 E-Star will feature in daily flight demonstrations.

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