Safran Helicopter Engines has validated the operation of its Mode Eco hybrid propulsion system during ground tests at Bordes, in preparation for its forthcoming flight tests on the Airbus Racer, a high-speed helicopter demonstrator. For the first time, this hybrid electric propulsion system was tested in a configuration similar to that which will be used on the Racer, in terms of equipment and size.
Eco Mode hybrid propulsion system validated
Safran Helicopter Engines has validated during ground tests at Bordes the operation of the Eco Mode hybrid propulsion system, in preparation for its forthcoming flight tests on the Airbus Racer, a high-speed helicopter demonstrator. For the first time, this hybrid-electric propulsion mode has been tested in a configuration similar to that which will be used on the Racer, in terms of equipment and footprint.
15% fuel consumption saved
The Eco Mode is designed for twin-engine helicopters: it consists of putting one of the two engines on standby during cruise flight, allowing the other to operate at a more optimal, energy-efficient power regime. This mode of operation reduces CO2 emissions and fuel consumption by around 15%, and increases range. Whenever necessary (during a landing or an emergency procedure, for example), the idle engine is automatically and very quickly (within a few seconds) restored to full power thanks to an innovative electric motor.
Rapid electric restart system
On the Racer, Eco Mode features an Aneto-1A engine and an electric rapid restart system developed in collaboration with Aquitaine Electronique (AECE Group) and Safran Cabin (Ventilation Systems). The latter consists of an electronic box providing, in particular, control and regulation, and a high-power density electric motor mechanically connected to the hot parts of the engine. The Eco Mode was developed as part of a research project funded by the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC). The 2,500 shp Aneto-1A will play a key role in the Racer's performance, and in particular its ability to reach and maintain a cruising speed of up to 400 km/h over long distances.
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