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US federal and local agencies partner to develop electric aviation infrastructure at San Antonio

Earlier this month the US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the City of San Antonio Aviation Department and City Public Service Board (CPS Energy), and the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining collective efforts to develop and promote technologies that include, but are not limited to, sustainable aviation, battery technologies and innovative battery storage solutions, enhanced electric vehicle (EV) charging, and power demand management technologies.

This agreement marks the first time an international airport will work together with ARPA-E—DOE’s innovation arm—to accelerate the development and deployment of new energy technologies to decarbonize the aviation sector, according to Ampaire, one of the participants in the programme.

“This is an important agreement with the potential to shape the aviation industry of the future,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg“Researching the decarbonization of aviation and finding new sustainable energy models is important work, and I am proud San Antonio will be playing a leading role in this cutting-edge research.”

The following ARPA-E-funded project teams were also present at the event to showcase their technologies and share how their innovations could be integrated into future electrified airports:

  • Ampaire flew its hybrid electric EEL aircraft and watch video of the aircraft here;
  • Imagen Energy showcased ultrafast, compact electric vehicle chargers delivering efficient and cost-effective power solutions;
  • Natron Energy featured sodium-ion batteries that can safely store energy and efficiently deliver power on demand;
  • AutoGrid discussed a distributed energy resource management system that can help grid operators manage energy supply and demand fluctuations;
  • Quidnet Energy brought a wellhead to illustrate a modular geomechanical pumped storage systems that can utilize existing natural resources to store renewable energy over long durations; and
  • Texas A&M University Research Teampresented 3D-printed models of a motor and shared concepts for advancing efficiency in electric transportation.

UTSA andCPS Energy also presented research to leverage a city-scale grid digital twin to evaluate operational efficacy, ensure seamless interoperability, fortify cybersecurity protocols, and assess performance metrics of electric/hybrid aircraft.

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(Image: Ampaire’s Electric EEL Arrives at Stinson-Mission Municipal Airport in San Antonio, Texas, to support the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ARPA-e, the San Antonio International Airport, the University of Texas, and CPS Energy)

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