The aeronautical company CESA is at the helm of the
PROSAVE2 project, an initiative under the sixth CENIT
Programme of the Centre for the Development of
Industrial Technology (CDTI) which seeks to develop
more efficient and eco-friendly power systems for
the electric aircraft of the future. This project, which
has a budget of more than 28 million euros, also
involves participation by the Andalusian companies
Hynergreen and Greenpower Technologies and the
Andalusian Association for Research and Industrial
Cooperation (AICIA)

The concept of travelling in a totally eco-friendly electric aircraft
is no longer such a far-fetched idea. European and
international companies and research centres are already
working on different projects and initiatives to adapt the characteristics
and materials of today’s civil and military aircraft to build
the aircraft of the future, which will enjoy major advantages over
its competitors in the world aeronautical industry. Not only will it
be more energy-efficient, it will help to protect the environment
and will in general result in significant cost savings. Naturally,
Spain is keen to break into this highly interesting technological
field.
On 12 November the Council of Ministers approved the
grant of funding to the Project for Research into Eco-Efficient
Avionics Advanced Systems (PROSAVE2) under the 6th CENIT
Programme (Strategic National Consortiums for Technical Research)
organised by the Centre for the Development of Industrial
Technology (CDTI). This project headed by Compañía Española
de Sistemas Aeronáuticos (CESA) has a total budget of
28.3 million euros.
The project’s main objective is to foster cooperation between
companies to develop more efficient and eco-friendly power systems
for a fully electric aircraft which reduces engine bleeding and the weight of the components, including the power generation,
distribution and management systems. The overriding aim
is to reduce the pollution levels of the aircraft of the future.
This ambitious project will be carried out by a consortium
consisting of 18 companies from five Spanish regions: Andalusia,
Madrid, the Basque Country, Catalonia and La Rioja. Apart
from CESA, the initiative involves participation by other important
companies in the Spanish aeronautical industry such as Airbus,
Airbus Military, Aernnova and various companies from the auxiliary
industry: Aeryper, Mapro, Ramem, Sisteplant, Temai and
Vázquez y Torres Ingeniería.
The consortium also includes companies from outside the aeronautical
sector, for the intention is to apply the achievements and
advances of PROSAVE2 to other industries by complementing
aeronautical technologies and exploiting this know-how in other
market sectors. These companies are Cegasa, Krafft, Naturgas,
Alme, JMP Ingenieros, Tratamientos Térmicos TTT and the Andalusian
companies Hynergreen and Greenpower Technologies.
The project also has the support of another 13 national research
centres, including the National Institute of Aerospace Technology
(INTA) and the Andalusian Association for Research and Industrial
Cooperation (AICIA), not to mention five Spanish universities.

Safety first
The search for efficient power sources and pollution reductions
for the electric aircraft of the future is not the only aim of the PROSAVE2
programme, for modern society also requires aircraft to be
safer. Accordingly, while the project focuses on eco-friendly technology
it also addresses aspects relating to new systems and sensors
to monitor the actuators of the future, enabling real-time monitoring
in mid-flight of the wear of materials and parts which could
give rise to accidents. Until now these risks could only be detected
in periodic maintenance operations.
Other highlights include the work carried out in the field of composites
to develop lighter and more reliable actuation systems,
which will enable improvements in other project areas; research
into membranes for the treatment of gases used in aircraft systems;
and the field of power optimisation.
This project is a major opportunity for the Spanish aeronautical
sector to establish itself at an international level in the field of new
technologies to reduce noise pollution and other environmental impacts
during the aircraft’s life cycle, including aggravation of the
greenhouse effect. It will also improve passenger comfort, for example
through improvements to cabin air quality.
The Andalusian contribution
Andalusia will participate directly under PROSAVE2 through the
companies Hynergreen, a subsidiary of Abengoa, and Greenpower
Technologies, along with collaboration by AICIA. Hynergreen will
study and develop inorganic polymer membranes and related systems
for the separation and purification of hydrogen via onboard
kerosene reforming processes. Together with AICIA, it will develop
power generation systems using alternative hydrogen-based energy
sources through research into PEM auxiliary and emergency
power generation technologies, alternative power generation for
turbines and engines and SOFC technologies.
In the case of Greenpower Technologies, the company will research
and analyse electronic power convertors for aeronautical fuel
cell systems. These systems are superior to currently existing systems
in terms of their efficiency, size and weight. AICIA will participate
in the evaluation of the different alternatives to improve the aircraft’s
energy efficiency through innovation in areas related with the efficiency
of power conditioners and storage systems. Finally, it will develop a
power management system which integrates critical systems such as
the electrical, thermal management and electric actuation system.
Meanwhile, AICIA will collaborate with the company Temai to
carry out a viability study of optical technology for the monitoring of
materials and components using ultrasonic sensors.