Momentum - February 2019 - 15

TODAY'S

ENGINEERING

'THE EAGLE HAS LANDED'

Image source: Rolls-Royce

INSIDE A HANGAR BAY at
Gloucestershire airport in South West
England, London-based Rolls-Royce plc
has gathered a team of British engineers,
designers, and data specialists and set
them on a course to develop a new
electric aircraft. The catch is that that
zero-emission, all-electric aircraft must
reach or exceed a target speed of 300
miles per hour by 2020.
If the team can produce an electric
aircraft that meets those numbers,
they would set a world record for the
fastest all-electric aircraft in history; the
current record-210 mph was set by an
Extra 330LE aerobatic plane powered
by a propulsion system developed by
Munich-based Siemens AG. But to RollsRoyce, the task is much more than a
stunt. The project, called "Accelerating
the Electrification of Flight" (ACCEL),
is Rolls-Royce's attempt at pioneering
a "third wave of aviation" with the
company positioned as a champion of
aircraft electrification.
Moreover, the team plans to build,
test, and commercialize the aircraft in a
market that does not yet exist all within
a 24-month span-a relative blink of the
eye in the world of aircraft development.
They will be using an agile approach
with a unique collaborative model to
test new ideas and work through energy
MOMENTUM

storage and performance challenges at a
rapid pace.
The ACCEL aircraft is a 23-foot long,
single-seat, single-prop, low-wing racing
plane with a 24-foot wingspan. The
cockpit is set back towards the end of
the fuselage in order to accommodate
a substantial battery pack in the nose.
Physically, the ACCEL aircraft looks a bit
like an English roadster.
"This plane will be powered by a
state-of-the-art electrical system and
the most powerful battery ever built for
flight," said Matheu Parr, ACCEL project
manager. "In the year ahead, we're going
to demonstrate its abilities in demanding
test environments before going for
gold in 2020 from a landing strip on the
Welsh coastline."
The 6,000-cell ACCEL battery pack
is the most energy-dense battery pack
ever developed for flight and provides-
through a 90% efficient powertrain-750
volts to three lightweight, high-power
YASA e-motors. The aircraft's propeller
will operate at lower number of
revolutions per minute (RPM) than a
conventionally powered aircraft; however,
it will deliver a stable and relatively quiet
500 horsepower.
"We're monitoring more than 20,000
data points per second, measuring
battery voltage, temperature, and

The 6,000-cell ACCEL battery
pack is the most energy-dense
one ever developed for flight and
provides-through a 90% efficient
powertrain-750 volts to three
lightweight, high-power YASA
e-motors.

overall health of the powertrain, which is
responsible for powering the propellers
and generating thrust. We've already
drawn a series of insights from the unique
design and integration challenges," says
Parr. "And we're gaining the knowhow
to not only pioneer the field of electricpowered, zero-emissions aviation - but
to lead it. At this point, our confidence is
sky high."
The Rolls-Royce team is focusing on
keeping the battery as light as possible
and developing an advanced cooling
system to keep it stable during extreme
temperatures and high-current operation.
If all goes according to plan, it will
provide enough to fly 200 miles on a
single charge.
ACCEL is partly funded by the U.K.
government and involves a host of
partners including electric motor and
controller manufacturer YASA, the
aviation start-up Electroflight Ltd, and
the Aerospace Technology Institute.
The team brings together some of the
top minds from the world of Formula E
racing to help design the e-racer.
By William Kucinski, content editor at SAE
International, Aerospace Products Group

February 2019 15


https://www.yasa.com/ https://www.electro-flight.com/ https://www.ati.org.uk/ https://www.yasa.com/

Momentum - February 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Momentum - February 2019

Momentum - February 2019
Contents
Go all in with your student membership
Briefs
Battling the elements
‘Hard work, determination, and a little bit of luck’
Shootout in Canada
How to lead a team
Plan, prepare, and succeed
‘The Eagle has landed’
SAE Detroit Section helps teams prep for Formula SAE season
SAE 101: Organically developed member groups considered for new organization model
DOSSIER: Mario Gutierrez of Robby Gordon Motorsports
Tips for navigating through the entry-level position
New SAE technical paper competition launches
Momentum - February 2019 - Momentum - February 2019
Momentum - February 2019 - Cover2
Momentum - February 2019 - Contents
Momentum - February 2019 - Go all in with your student membership
Momentum - February 2019 - Briefs
Momentum - February 2019 - Battling the elements
Momentum - February 2019 - 5
Momentum - February 2019 - 6
Momentum - February 2019 - 7
Momentum - February 2019 - ‘Hard work, determination, and a little bit of luck’
Momentum - February 2019 - 9
Momentum - February 2019 - 10
Momentum - February 2019 - Shootout in Canada
Momentum - February 2019 - How to lead a team
Momentum - February 2019 - 13
Momentum - February 2019 - Plan, prepare, and succeed
Momentum - February 2019 - ‘The Eagle has landed’
Momentum - February 2019 - SAE Detroit Section helps teams prep for Formula SAE season
Momentum - February 2019 - SAE 101: Organically developed member groups considered for new organization model
Momentum - February 2019 - DOSSIER: Mario Gutierrez of Robby Gordon Motorsports
Momentum - February 2019 - 19
Momentum - February 2019 - New SAE technical paper competition launches
Momentum - February 2019 - Cover3
Momentum - February 2019 - Cover4
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