Bauhaus Luftfahrt Says They Could Be Feasible by 2035
Emission-free, all-electric airplanes could be a commercial reality by 2035, says Germany’s Bauhaus Luftfahrt consultancy, which floated several detailed concepts this month at ILA, the biannual International Berlin Air Show.
The Munich-based think tank mounted its own display at ILA for the first time, to promote the “Ce-Liner” concept.
Studies conducted in concert by all four of the organization’s research units indicate that expected advances in lithium batteries, high-temperature superconducting motors, aerodynamics and lightweight structures will make possible a 190-passenger regional airliner for routes up to 900 miles.
“In 2035, 79% of the world’s aircraft of this size will be used on these stage lengths,” providing a ready market, says Askin Isikveren, who heads the firm’s Visionary Aircraft Concepts research group.
The key aerodynamic advance is embodied a so-called C-wing, which replaces today’s horizontal tail and may include morphing devices making it superior to a trapezoidal box wing, he says. Operating economics are expected to be comparable to what an evolved Boeing 787-3 jet might achieve over the next two decades.
One challenge familiar to road EV developers: batteries to power the Ce-Liner don’t yet exist. Bauhaus Luftfahrt’s specs call for a six-fold improvement in power density. “if academia and industry make a concerted effort, we can do it,” Isikveren says.
To attract the airlines, a regional airplane has to have a 30-minute turnaround time. The Bauhaus answer is to build battery packs sized like standard shipping containers that can be quickly swapped using standard cargo-loading equipment.
Bauhaus’ Ce-Liner will be about 40,000 pounds heavier than an Airbus A320, Isikveren says, meaning navigation fees and airport charges will be higher. Those fees would be made if because operators would avoid emissions taxes.
Bauhaus Luftfahrt is emphasizing an interdisciplinary approach to meet or surpass the European Commission’s “Flightpath 2050” goals.
The all-electric airplane proposed by Bauhaus Luftfahrt was featured on the cover of Aviation Week & Space Technology’s ShowNews magazine at ILA 2012 in Berlin. The magazine contained a full-page report on Bauhaus Luftfahrt by editor-in-chief John Morris.
ILA stands for Internationale Luft- und Raumfahrtausstellung.
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Source: Bauhaus Luftfahrt with Fleets & Fuels follow-up