University announced as a consortium partner for the next generation electric aircraft

Categories: School of Science, Engineering and Environment

The University of Salford has been announced as a partner part of a seven-strong consortium who are developing the next generation of all electric propulsion module that enhances aircraft performance and reduces operating costs. The project brings together industry and academia with The University of Salford Acoustics Research Centre providing their expertise on noise modelling and assessment.

The consortium’s project - Integrated Flight Control, Energy Storage and Propulsion Technologies for Electric Aircraft (InCEPTion) - is co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, and will begin in January 2021. The 24-month project aims to deliver a quiet, high power-dense, and efficient propulsion module with zero tailpipe emissions, which will contribute to the Government’s commitment to achieving net-zero transportation by 2050.

The funding awarded to the University will allow them to use their extensive expertise in how noise is created and how it can be measured, modelled and reduced through design. 

Dr Antonio J Torija Martinez, Lecturer in Acoustic Engineering at the University, who is also a member of the NASA Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Noise Working Group, and an expert contributor to the NASA white paper on UAM noise, is the lead from Salford Acoustics Research Centre said: “We are delighted to be part of this truly innovative project addressing the noise issues to develop the next generation of all electric propulsion module for aircraft."

Our leading Acoustics Research Centre will advise on the acoustic optimisation for a design of a scalable electric propulsion unit for urban air mobility.

“We will be investigating how the propulsion unit can be optimised for low noise impact, by integrating human responses and cutting-edge psychoacoustic methods in its design, and therefore will go beyond the traditional approach on aircraft noise assessment. This project will efficiently address the worst noise conditions early at the design process, avoiding costly and inefficient ad hoc corrections at later stages. We are confident that the outcomes of this project will contribute to a more sustainable expansion of the urban air mobility sector.”

Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) specialist, Blue Bear Systems Research are the lead partner in the consortium, the University being one of two academic partners involved.  The partners include:

  • Electrified propulsion specialist, Drive System Design
  • Engineering and environmental consultancy developing electric components (including batteries and fuel cells) and thermal systems, Ricardo
  • Dowty Propellers
  • Dielectric liquid specialists, M&I Materials
  • University of Cambridge’s Whittle Laboratory
  • University of Salford’s Acoustics Research Centre

The project will develop skills, tools and research infrastructure for the consortium and its UK supply chain and will result in the capability development and expansion of electric, quiet, zero-carbon propulsion systems.


About the project

The project is supported by the ATI Programme, a joint Government and industry investment to maintain and grow the UK’s competitive position in civil aerospace design and manufacture. The programme, delivered through a partnership between the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK, addresses technology, capability and supply chain challenges.

Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) promotes transformative technology in air transport and supports the funding of world-class research and development through the multi-billion-pound joint government-industry programme. The ATI stimulates industry-led R&D projects to secure jobs, maintain skills and deliver economic benefits across the UK. Setting a technology strategy that builds on the UK’s strengths and responds to the challenges faced by the UK civil aerospace sector; ATI provides a roadmap of the innovation necessary to keep the UK competitive in the global aerospace market, and complements the broader strategy for the sector created by the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP). The ATI provides strategic oversight of the R&T pipeline and portfolio. It delivers the strategic assessment of project proposals and provides funding recommendations to BEIS. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy (BEIS) is the government department accountable for the ATI Programme. As the budget holder for the programme, BEIS, is accountable for the final decision regarding projects to progress and fund with Government resources, as well as performing Value for Money (VfM) assessment on all project proposals, one of the 3 ATI Programme assessment streams. Innovate UK Innovate UK is the funding agency for the ATI Programme. It delivers the competitions process including independent assessment of project proposals and provides funding recommendations to BEIS. Following funding award, Innovate UK manages the programme, from contracting projects, through to completion. Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base. UKRI is the national funding agency investing in science and research in the UK. Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £6 billion, UKRI brings together the 7 Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England.


About Innovate UK

Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas. We connect businesses to the partners, customers and investors that can help them turn ideas into commercially successful products and services and business growth.  

We fund business and research collaborations to accelerate innovation and drive business investment into R&D.  Our support is available to businesses across all economic sectors, value chains and UK regions.  Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation.

For more information visit www.innovateuk.ukri.org




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