UK Consortium Launches Project to Propel Next Generation of Electric Aircraft

Blue Bear Systems Research, a UK Small to Medium Enterprise in Bedford, has formed a seven-strong consortium to develop a next-generation, all-electric, propulsion module to enhance aircraft performance while reducing operating costs. The propulsion module is a scalable design and is the first in a range of products that can be used for aircraft less than 5tonnes in the near term.

The project – Integrated Flight Control, Energy Storage and Propulsion Technologies for Electric Aircraft (INCEPTION) – is supported and co-funded by the ATI Programme – a partnership of the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK. Launched this January, the 24-month project will deliver a highly power-dense, quiet and efficient propulsion module with zero tailpipe emissions.

Yoge Patel, CEO of Blue Bear, said: “The future electrification of aircraft propulsion will have a significant positive environmental effect, helping to reduce emissions and lower the carbon footprint of aviation. The INCEPTION consortiums propulsion module will bring game-changing technology to manned and unmanned aviation, delivering unrivalled performance and value in this newly emerging sector.”

The propulsion module will be inherently scalable, enabling different combinations of the same module to power multiple aircraft concepts, such as large cargo drones, electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL), general aviation aircraft and sub-regional aircraft. This will enable a broad range of new mobility services across the UK, from large cargo delivery to regional commuting.

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) specialist, Blue Bear Systems Research, will lead a consortium of innovation partners from industry and academia, which includes:

  • Dowty Propellers
  • Electrified powertrain specialists, Drive System Design
  • Engineering and environmental consultancy developing batteries and fuel cells, Ricardo
  • Materials specialists, M&I Materials
  • University of Cambridge’s Whittle Laboratory
  • University of Salford’s Acoustics Research Centre

The project will develop skills, tools and infrastructure for the consortium and its UK supply chain. It will result in new capability development and the expansion of electric, zero-carbon propulsion systems.