The global aviation industry generates 2.4% of total carbon di oxide and 12% of all green house gases. However, the need to meet weight and safety regulations does not allow development of a completely alternate means of propulsion for several decades. However, there is hope in hybrid technology which may reduce carbon emission from the present level though not eliminating them altogether.

A step has been taken in this direction by Diamond Aircraft Industries GmBH in partnership of Schenider. The effort has the support of the governments of Germany and Austria. Diamond Aircraft has developed a multi-engine hybrid aircraft using some very innovative arrangements. The aircraft is a converted DA40. This innovative propulsion package comprises a diesel engine located in the nose of the aircraft. This engine can generate 110 KW of power. Two motor operated propellers with a total power output of 150 KW allow for  electric only takeoff  and a battery package of 12 KW-H capacity in the passenger compartment. The aircraft has sufficient power and capacity to allow take-off in all electric mode. In this mode the aircraft has an endurance of approximately 30 min. With the diesel engine kicking in, the endurance increases to 5 hours.

This aircraft can be flown in several modes: –

  • All electric mode, the energy to the propulsion motors is provided by the battery pack.
  • Cruise mode, in this mode the single diesel generator provides power to the electric motors for motion.
  • Charge mode, in this mode, the diesel engine charges the batteries.

The hybrid propulsion arrangement allows for felxibility in design and arrangement of the aircraft and allows for several innovative approaches to design and layout while reducing the emission of carbon di oxide and other greenhouse gases. The systems also has a lot of scope for scaling up for designing larger aircraft.

The electric propulsion system for this system was developed by Schneider while the modifications to the aircraft and integration was done by Diamond Aircraft .