US-based electric aircraft developer Ampaire and sustainable infrastructure, renewable energy and transportation electrification company Black & Veatch have agreed to collaborate on developing airport electrification that supports tomorrow's electric aviation needs.
Against the backdrop of a reimagined aviation sector and the evolution of air mobility in a world increasingly looking to decarbonise, the two companies will work to identify and evaluate opportunities to plan, engineer and construct infrastructure for electric air mobility at airports, working with early adopters in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
According to the recent memorandum of understanding (MOU), the global collaboration will focus on creating reliable, clean energy-powered charging and sustainable aviation fuelling supply at a growing number of airports, leveraging solar, energy storage and SAF supply chain development. The initiative seeks to include a broad range of air and ground side stakeholders who will benefit from shared infrastructure, along with Black & Veatch's deep knowledge of power and communications infrastructure.
"Ampaire is committed to putting zero-emissions aircraft into widespread service by mid-decade. These hybrid-electric aircraft will benefit from the build out of sustainable aviation fuel and electric charging infrastructure, making zero emissions possible for meaningful service range. That's why we consider this teaming arrangement so important,” says Ampaire senior vice president of global partnerships Susan Ying. “Aircraft companies must be involved in defining airport fuelling and charging infrastructure. We are therefore very pleased to work with Black & Veatch on this common objective.”
“Governments, companies and communities around the world are making lowering their carbon footprints a priority, and the transportation sector is helping accelerate positive change,” adds B&V associate vice president of global transportation initiatives Paul Stith. “Decarbonisation of aviation is challenging and requires technology and collaboration. Tackling emissions with concurrent SAF and electrification strategies offers a shining example of what's possible in doing things cleaner and greener, and we're excited about working with Ampaire to reshape tomorrow's air mobility through infrastructure and innovation.”
Ampaire has been at the forefront of modern air mobility, having flown 481 miles nonstop from Perth, Scotland to Exeter in southwest England in August 2021 with its Electric EEL aircraft, a six seat Cessna modified with hybrid-electric propulsion. It is to date the longest flight by a commercial-sized, hybrid-electric aircraft.
The promise of electrified air mobility continues to grow, given the environmental benefits, the reduced fuel requirements and maintenance costs, and the sector's reduced reliance on traditional fuels that are prone to price and supply fluctuations. While electrification carries vast potential in unleashing a new mobility market, expanding the industry rests significantly on deploying more charging and servicing infrastructure.