School of Science, Engineering & Environment 31.07.21

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

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.

He added: “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.