Growing concerns over rising carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have fueled global demand for pure electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). In addition, the aviation industry is experiencing similar developments, with agencies analyzing the cost and performance advantages of electric aviation products. If the cost of air travel infrastructure can be reduced, air travel could be extended to underserved remote areas.
Ampaire (Hawthorne, CA) has always been committed to realizing this vision by developing safe and quiet electric aircraft that are environmentally friendly and lower cost. Ampaire is focused on achieving an all-electric aircraft with 90% lower fuel costs, 50% lower maintenance costs, 66% lower takeoff and landing noise, and zero tailpipe emissions compared to conventional internal combustion engine aircraft.
The electric propulsion aircraft developed by Ampaire is not only environmentally friendly but also safe, quiet and less expensive to operate.
In the US alone, the adoption of electric propulsion technology could increase airline destinations by a factor of 10 and increase the number of airports from 500 to 5,000. As a result, people living in remote areas will have easier access to regional air transport services, while regional airlines, which are struggling to make money due to high operating costs, will be well positioned to thrive.
Greener, cleaner energy for air travel
Ampaire, currently in the prototyping phase, has developed a dual kinetic energy architecture with redundancy in initial test flight scenarios, allowing for the evaluation and development of a split between fuel and electric energy sources based on payload, cruise speed and flight path. The technology of propulsion load.
Ampaire’s current prototype design, a modified Cessna 337 Skymaster, features an inline-parallel hybrid architecture: a standard internal combustion engine propeller at the rear of the aircraft and an electric propeller at the front of the aircraft. During flight, power can be dynamically shared between the two propulsion systems to optimize speed, power, fuel consumption or noise.
Rapid prototyping requires high-density power component solutions
The power supply system for the Ampaire prototype consists of a high-voltage battery pack power supply with a voltage range of 500V to 738V. A typical avionics control and monitoring system operates from a supply voltage of 28V, so a DC-DC converter solution with a wide input range and tightly regulated output to 28V is required. Batteries are high voltage, so not only do they need isolation, but they also require power ratings up to 500W.
In addition, the Ampaire design team required the solution to be small, efficient, and simple to set up thermal management, as well as for rapid prototyping and extremely short time to production. The design team also did not want to design or use a power converter board. Based on these design requirements, the Vicor engineering team recommends two stages of power conversion and regulation to optimize efficiency and power density and simplify thermal management. A fixed ratio bus converter (BCM) will be used to isolate and step down the high voltage battery, followed by a low voltage DC-DC converter to regulate the output of the bus converter to 28V.
Electric-powered aviation of the future
Ampaire is one of the leaders in the electric powered aviation market, demonstrating the commercial viability of electric aircraft. . Prototypes will be tested by Hawaii-based Mokulele Airlines, which hopes to fly short-range missions across the Hawaiian Islands using a new generation of aircraft that Ampaire has put into commercial production. Ampaire’s future aircraft is expected to fly 9 to 19 passengers from Honolulu to Cayului on a 90-mile range.