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Slovenia's Pipistrel, partners complete first stage of near-zero-emission aircraft project

May 7, 2020, 4:58:33 PMArticle by Iskra Pavlova
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May 7 (SeeNews) - Slovenian light aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel said it has completed the first stage of a EU-funded project for developing a brand-new near-zero-emission regional aircraft concept.

Slovenia's Pipistrel, partners complete first stage of near-zero-emission aircraft project
Artistic impression of a 19-seater with liquid hydrogen hybrid propulsion technology (based on preliminary sizing evaluation)/Photo: Pipistrel

Within the first stage of the project, the company's unit Pipistrel Vertical Solutions together with its partners Politecnico di Milano and the Netherland's Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) have laid the groundwork methodology and tools for the multi-objective interdisciplinary design and optimisation of the new aircraft concept, Pipistrel said in a statement last month.

"Pipistrel’s ambition is to develop and demonstrate a zero emission 19-seat commuter aircraft to provide fully climate neutral aerial mobility in the next decade. By using hydrogen-based propulsion a 100% emission reduction is expected," the company said.

Such an aircraft would also present a stepping stone for using zero-emission technology on larger platforms such as the Regional and SMR aircraft, Pipistrel said, adding it sees the potential of the 19-seat zero-emission aircraft replacing larger conventional/non-zero emission aircraft in the future, raising the positive climate impact and improving mobility for EU citizens.

The project for the new UNIFIER19 airliner concept design is funded under the EU Clean Sky 2 programme. It will offer a sustainable and cost-efficient air mobility solution by connecting smaller airports to each other (miniliner) and with hubs (microfeeder), accommodating both scheduled and on-demand shuttle flights.

"Both aircraft roles (miniliner and microfeeder) are conceived as key components in the future development of a more connected European transportation network through enhanced, environmentally sustainable regional air travel," the company said.

Moreover, the optimisation will include chemical and noise emission footprint objectives, with the major focus being on developing hydrogen and battery-based propulsion.

"The design concept, as the final project outcome, will be a keystone for enabling Europe’s Flightpath 2050 vision, which envisages that virtually all EU citizens shall reach any continental destination in less than four hours, door to door, by the year 2050," Pipistrel said.

Pipistrel was established in 1989 as the first private aircraft manufacturer in the former Yugoslavia.

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