Sustainable Aviation: Portugal participates in innovative project

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The future of “green” aviation is already being mapped out with the development of a hybrid-electric aircraft through the European Union’s HERA – Hybrid-Electric Regional Architecture project that could reduce the carbon footprint by up to 90%.

The aircraft will have a size of approximately 50-100 seats, operate in regional and short-range air mobility in the mid-2030s over distances of less than 500 km (regional intercity connections). It will include hybrid-electric propulsion based on batteries or fuel cells as power sources supported by SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) or hydrogen combustion for the thermal source.

Innovative technologies and configurations to be developed include high voltage MW scale electrical distribution, thermal management, new wing and fuselage design, as well as new hybrid-electric propulsion and new storage related to low greenhouse gas emissions.

With the entry into service of the HERA aircraft it will be necessary to interact with new airport infrastructures based on new renewable energy sources, which will also be developed in the project.

With a funding of 35M€ and a duration of 48 months, HERA is coordinated by Leonardo, and counts with AIRBUS, DLR, Fraunhoffer, Honeywell, ONERA, Rolls Royce, Siemens, Safran, Thales, among other international partners in a total of 48 institutions in the aviation sector, including universities. Portugal is represented in the project by ISQ, INEGI and Almadesign. The project is integrated in the Clean Aviation Program of the European Commission.

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