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Embraer and EDP partner for electric aircraft research 

By Chris Stonor

Brazilian company Embraer and Portugal’s EDP, a company that operates in all areas of the energy sector, have signed a partnership agreement for electric aircraft research, reports a company press release.

Through its EDP Smart division, the Portuguese-based multinational announced “a financial stake for the acquisition of energy storage and battery charging technologies for Embraer’s all-electric demonstrator aircraft project, using the EMB-203 Ipanema as its test bed.” The prototype, which is already in development, is scheduled to complete its inaugural flight next year. This investment is part of the co-operation agreement

The partnership aims “to investigate the applicability of high voltage batteries for the electric propulsion systems of small aircraft, in addition to evaluating the main operating characteristics, such as weight, efficiency and power quality, thermal control and management, cycling loading and unloading, and operational safety.”

Luís Carlos Affonso, Embraer Vice President of Engineering and Corporate Strategy, said, “Innovation is one of the pillars of Embraer’s new strategy for the coming years, so it is a pleasure to welcome EDP into this scientific research endeavor.”

Miguel Setas, President of EDP in Brazil, added, “EDP aims to lead the energy transition to a low carbon economy. Our partnership with Embraer in the development of the company’s first 100% electric demonstrator aircraft represents a new frontier for our investment in electric mobility, which helps to position Brazil as a leading player in this market.”

Embraer initially partnered WEG in May 2019, to develop aeronautical electrification before this latest co-operation with EDP for “shared research in the storage of high voltage energy, complementing Embraer’s ongoing research. The companies hope to ”accelerate the combined knowledge of the technologies necessary for the use and integration of batteries and electric motors in order to increase the energy efficiency of the propulsion systems of aircraft.”

For the evaluations, a small single-engine EMB-203 Ipanema is being used. Ground tests have taken place at Embraer’s facilities in Botucatu, in the interior of São Paulo, in preparation for the first flight, which will take place at Embraer’s Gavião Peixoto unit.

Electrification is just one project in a series of initiatives being developed by Embraer to help reduce carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, EDP aims to electrify 100% of its fleet by 2030, as well as to develop new offers and commercial solutions that promote the energy transition. Last year, during Aneel’s Public Call on the topic of Efficient Electric Mobility, the Company approved an investment of about RD50 million in projects for a R&D fund.

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