Safran Electrical & Power and Pyroalliance have agreed to work together to develop a system to guard against the risk of fire in electric propulsion systems for aircraft. The two French companies intend to introduce technology that could react in a millisecond to protect against the threat of an electric arc on electric and hybrid-electric aircraft.
In an announcement today, the partners said that they aim to be ready to demonstrate a prototype of the pyrotechnic electrical shutdown system in 2022 and to have it ready for commercial use in 2023. France’s DGAC civil aviation authority is providing 50 percent of the project's undisclosed budget under the government’s French Recovery Plan.
Safran, which makes aircraft engines as well as electronic systems and cabin interiors, has developed the Engineus range of electric motors, which have already been selected by aircraft manufacturers such as Bye Aerospace (which uses them for its eFlyer family). Based on its experience working with high-power aeronautical electrical networks with voltages ranging from 800 to 1,200 volts, the group has been working on high-voltage circuit breakers to provide instantaneous protection from electric arcs.
Pyroalliance has half a century of experience in developing pyrotechnic control technology for a wide variety of aeronautics, defense, and space applications. It is part of the Ariane group.
At least two electric aircraft prototypes have been damaged in fires that broke out during maintenance work on the ground. These include the Lilium Jet eVTOL aircraft and Eviation’s Alice nine-seat fixed-wing model.