DOE to award $55M to reduce airplane emissions

Published on December 19, 2019 by Dave Kovaleski

© Shutterstock

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) awarded $55 million to programs to develop electric aviation engine technology and powertrain systems.

The two programs are the Research on Aviation-class Synergistically Cooled Electric-motors with iNtegrated Drives (ASCEND) and Range Extenders for Electric Aviation with Low Carbon and High Efficiency (REEACH). These programs will seek to develop commercial-class electric aviation energy technology solutions to mitigate the emissions caused by passenger aircraft.

“Every American should have reliable, affordable, and efficient transportation, and the electrification of aviation systems has the potential to transform the way aircraft consume and use energy,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette said. “These programs will focus on innovative research and development for flight systems that increase the overall efficiency of aircraft and have the potential to reduce aircraft fuel consumption and emissions.”

Air travel accounts for nearly 175 million metric tons of CO2 emissions in the U.S. every year. That works out to be about 2.6 percent of domestic greenhouse gas emissions. This initiative is ARPA-E’s first to develop more energy efficient systems for commercial aircraft.

Up to $35 million will be awarded to the ASCEND projects, which will support the development of lightweight and ultra-efficient integrated electric motors, drives, and thermal management systems. About $20 million will go toward the REEACH program, which will develop a system for the conversion of chemical energy contained in energy dense Carbon Neutral Liquid Fuels to electric power for aircraft propulsion.