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EADS and Siemens enter long-term research partnership for electric aviation propulsion; MoU with Diamond Aircraft

EADS and Siemens are entering a long-term research partnership to introduce new electric propulsion systems for aviation applications. Together with their partner, Austria-based Diamond Aircraft, the companies are showcasing a second-generation series hybrid electric airplane at Le Bourget. (Earlier post.)

EADS Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tom Enders, Siemens CEO Peter Löscher and Diamond Aircraft owner Christian Dries signed a MoU in Le Bourget to set the course for their future cooperation on electric aircraft development.

Total fuel costs will amount to a third of operating expenses of the airline industry this year, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Air transport as a whole currently emits 2% of global carbon emissions and is set to increase to 3% by 2050, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The research partnership aims to ultimately introduce hybrid drive systems for both helicopters and large airplanes, while the airworthiness certification of full-electric and hybrid aircraft in the General Aviation category is to be achieved within the next three to five years.

Siemens developed an integrated drive train for the second generation of the airplane DA36 E-Star 2. It consists of two main components: The electric drive and a generator, which is powered by a small Wankel engine. The hybrid motor glider made a successful 1-hour maiden flight at the Wiener Neustadt airfield in Vienna, Austria on 1 June 2013.

The new propulsion technology leads to reduced noise emissions during take-off and will cut fuel consumption and overall emissions by about 25% compared to today’s most efficient aircraft drivers. This first MoU between the three companies confirms the collaboration on the project which has existed since 2011.




Anyone who has driven a rotary engine car knows the light-weight power and low vibration is as close to electric motor performance as ICE gets.

The flying aircraft, under 30 lb motor + Wankel genset, yields 100 hp, 25% fuel/emissions savings, and Siemens considers it scale-able to 100 passenger commercial aircraft in a few years.


Well, you might like to have a look at the following link and convince yourself that, as far as ICEs are concerned, there is something better and far more efficient to have than a Wankel rotary engine.


@yoatmon, the FKLG sounds cheap, flexible, and untested.

Hope to see it in an EV prototype.

John Burns

This opposed piston/free piston engine is not proven. IT look quite big. The Wankel is proven and small. Look at the free piston Stirling engines. Stirlings tend to be big but the cool air at altitude in a plane operation make them a contender.

John Burns

Clarian labs developed the rotary generator calling it a hybrid battery. They have a very small Wankel engine generator in a "self contained" pack the size of a normal car battery, but maybe lighter than lead-acid batteries and some other types. Fuel is slotted in, in a fuel cartridge. They call it a battery as it is a store of energy. They state that the energy storage density is 20 times greater than current electrical batteries, so ideal as a battery range extender for EVs. They can be mixed with Lith batteries in car. Charge up from the grid and use the hybrid battery for longer ranges. They can all be standard size and added to, only connecting up to an exhaust manifold. A simple 15 minutes dealer job - or even DIY.

Detractors say it is just a Wankel genny in a sealed box giving out electricity needing energy inserted. Clarian argue we also do with a normal chemical battery - we have to insert electrical energy into it. These hybrid batteries can be in a convenient place in a car to just pull out and slot in a fuel cartridge.

The electrical coils are in the Wankel's rotor and in the centre of the engine, eliminating the shaft making is simpler, smaller and lighter again. It is exceptionally small indeed.

Clarian say their hybrid battery can be slotted into a hybrid battery bay with a convenient exhaust manifold connection - screw off a cap and screw on the hybrid battery. You can just add them like you can do with normal electrical batteries. The more you have the greater the range. But most would only need one.

Only Wankel engines can do this. We have progress here.

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