March Lecture 2015

Branch AGM followed by

Hybrid-Electric Propulsion for Aircraft – Watts the Story?

Thursday 12th March 2015

Branch AGM starts at 7.15 pm
Lecture Starts at 7.30 pm

Speaker: Dr. Paul Robertson, Cambridge University

Location: Lecture Theatre ‘0’, Cambridge University Engineering Department, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ.

Lecture Synopsis

Dr Paul Robertson is a Lecturer in Electrical Engineering at the Cambridge University Engineering Department. His research interests include sensors and electronics for medical, industrial and aviation applications and he runs a number of student modules and projects in these areas – including MEng and PhD projects on hybrid & electric aircraft propulsion systems. A twin electric propulsion system for the Lazair conversion, which first flew in 2009 at Sywell Aerodrome, was designed and built by Paul in collaboration with Flylight Airsports. He also designed and built the first hybrid petrol-electric power plant for a manned aircraft, an Alatus motor-glider, which flew in September 2010. Most recently, he led a research project in association with Boeing to develop a parallel hybrid-electric demonstrator aircraft, the first to be able to recharge its batteries in flight, which had its maiden flight in September 2014. Paul is also a qualified pilot and has built a 2-seater, fixed-wing microlight aircraft, which he flies regularly.

In this talk Dr. Paul Robertson will discuss the technical merits and drawbacks of electric and hybrid propulsion for light aircraft, based on theory and practical lessons learned from his experimental aircraft. The first part of the talk will introduce the merits of hybrid cars before moving on to outline the basic principles of flight, particularly with regard to propulsion power requirements, and will discuss the available energy density of various fuels and power sources. Practical details of his electric and hybrid-electric aircraft will also be described, culminating in his recent demonstration of a very economical parallel hybrid propulsion system for the carbon-fibre SONG – a single-seat microlight aircraft.”