The Swedish Electromobility Center together with The Swedish Confederation of Transport Enterprises and Region Skåne conducted a workshop on strategic research areas for electric aviation. The workshop took a broad approach and issues from energy density in batteries to the role of electric aviation in the transport ecosystem of the future were discussed.
The organizations met in the workshop, initiated by the Electrification Commission’s working group for electric aircraft, to identify strategic research areas for electric aircraft. The working group for electric aviation reasoned that the research that is already being conducted today for electrification of other modes of transport can most probably also contribute to electrification of aviation. But there is also a need for research that strategically focuses on electric aviation to cover the entire need for research from both a technical and a societal perspective.
Business models and financing
What the business models and financing should look like is a crucial question. The development of electric aviation would place new demands on airports and their need for electricity supply. There is a need for research on financial instruments for this and also how it is connected to the whole electric and energy system.
Capacity in the electricity grid
Charging infrastructure for airports and electric flights means a completely new piece of the puzzle to get into the power grid. There will be a new need for knowledge about how to make this piece of the puzzle fit, i.e., new need for research. This includes not only the needs that exist at the airport itself, but also how different charging strategies affect the electricity grid in general and how the integration and coordination should take place.
Safety must be guaranteed
When it comes to the aircraft itself, an electric driveline affects most things. The most important issue is the energy density of the energy storage and how safety is to be guaranteed. Higher power densities to reduce weight and increase reliability are also desirable. Cooling the driveline is another area that needs more knowledge and research.
Electric flying is not an end in itself
The workshop stated that electric flying is not an end in itself but must respond to a need from society and industry. It must also be able to be compared with other transport alternatives in terms of climate and environmental impact in the short and long term.
Read the full report from the workshop in Swedish here.