EU industry partners tap Collins Aerospace to coordinate development of aviation high-voltage distribution tech

Feb. 7, 2023
Europe's HECATE consortium will work to a specific goal of demonstrating a >500 kW hybrid-electric architecture in ground tests at TRL5 by 2025.

CORK, Ireland - Collins Aerospace in Charlotte, N.C. has been selected by the European Union's clean aviation HECATE project to coordinate the development of new high-voltage electric power distribution technologies for aerospace.

For HECATE, which stands for Hybrid-ElectriC regional Aircraft distribution TEchnologies, Collins will lead the project’s steering committee, while Safran in Paris will serve as technical coordinator. The two companies will work with a consortium of 37 European aerospace industry partners across 10 countries, including Thales, Diehl Aerospace, Airbus Defense and Space, Leonardo and multiple universities.

The global aviation industry is targeting a date of 2050 to remove all carbon emissions from aircraft. The development of hybrid-electric aircraft is seen as one of the key ingredients to zero carbon. In order to support hybrid-electric propulsion systems, new high-voltage distribution technologies will be required as electric power levels increase from hundreds of kilowatts in today’s aircraft, to megawatt levels in the aircraft of the future. The HECATE consortium will work to address this challenge for regional platforms, with a specific goal of demonstrating a >500 kW hybrid-electric architecture in ground tests at TRL5 by 2025.

Collins’ Applied Research and Technology (ART) organization in Cork, Ireland, will lead the company’s coordination of HECATE, while its facilities in Solihull, UK, and Nördlingen, Germany, will develop power conversion and secondary distribution technologies for the project. Safran will supply primary distribution and cabling. Thales in Paris and Diehl Aerospace in Überlingen, Germany will contribute specialized solutions for power electronics, system control and energy management. Airbus Defence and Space in Taufkirchen, Germany and Leonardo in Rome will provide the airframer perspective, and support requirements and validation activities.

“With decades of experience supplying electric power systems for the world’s most advanced aircraft, Collins is bringing that expertise to bear in the development of multiple next-gen electric technologies that are integral to sustainable flight,” said Mauro Atalla, Senior Vice President, Engineering & Technology for Collins. “Key among them are high-voltage distribution systems—a critical enabler for hybrid-electric propulsion. In collaboration with the HECATE consortium, we will develop new high-voltage technologies to help pave the way for future hybrid-electric platforms and reduced carbon emissions.”

“We’re proud to be selected as technical coordinator and supply primary distribution and cabling for the HECATE consortium. This project is in line with our strategic aims: it features breakthrough high-voltage electrical technologies, with a low carbon footprint. This agreement bolsters our position as a key player in innovative, competitive electrical systems,” says Bruno Bellanger, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Power Division, Safran Electrical & Power.

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