Future propulsion and integration: towards a hybrid/electric aircraft

Specific Challenge:

This action is part of the Aviation International Cooperation Flagship called “Safer and Greener Aviation in a Smaller World” mentioned in the introduction to this work programme 2018-2020.

The third challenge of Flightpath 2050 is related to environmental protection and the security of energy supply. At the Paris climate conference (COP21), countries agreed to limit climate change to well below 2°C. Without considerable contributions from the aviation sector to global mitigation efforts, this goal cannot be achieved. Carbon Neutral Growth from 2020 is possible through a combination of non-market and market measures. Regarding aircraft technologies, there is growing evidence that indicates that for airframe as well as for Propulsion and Power Systems (PPS), the projected cumulative impact of developed technologies will fall short of the year 2035 target. These projections account for the latest developments in airframe, weight gains from more-electric aircraft systems as well as advanced gas-turbines, such as expected high thermal efficiencies through intercooling and recuperation and propulsive efficiencies from Open Rotor.

Against this background it is necessary to develop future aviation propulsion and integration technologies with emphasis on hybrid-electric and full-electric propulsion. There is also a need for establishing a common roadmap and prioritize the key enabling technologies for the hybrid/electric configurations, including energy storage (batteries), for the aviation sector.


Proposals are expected to address feasibility design studies for aircraft energy system with integrated hybrid/electric propulsion and power generation architectures as well as sub-systems enablers in the context of appropriately projected advances in the next twenty-year framework. Each proposal may aim at several of the following areas:

  • Development of tools for tightly-coupled inter-disciplinary new architectural feasibility assessment for the hybrid/electric propulsion and power systems, including detailed feasibility design studies for innovative energy distribution, use and storage solutions.
  • Explore concepts on energy harvesting technologies to identifying, capturing, storing and re-using energy in flight and/or during take-off, landing, breaking and taxiing, which have potential to offer synergies with hybrid-electric architectures.
  • Explore emerging storage technologies that have potential to comply with aerospace requirements (e.g. performances, safety, dispatch…) for hybrid/electric propulsion and power systems.
  • Advance further Electro-Magnetic Interference solutions as well as thermal management trade-offs at system level.

Projects are expected to perform an assessment on the applicability, availability and upgrade of research infrastructures for testing and validation with focus on electrical and propulsion benches and computational tools. (incl. wind tunnels, electrical and propulsion benches and computational tools). Projects are also expected to develop updated roadmap with reference to key enabling technologies towards fully electric or hybrid-electric aircraft and explore new relevant regulatory frameworks.

The implementation of the proposed areas of this topic should cover TRLs ranging from 1 to 4.

In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation, multilateral international cooperation is encouraged, in particular with countries such as Japan and Canada.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 3 and 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

Overall, the topic is expected to contribute to Flightpath 2050 goals, namely towards “environmental protection and the security of energy supply” as well as “maintaining global leadership”. Specific impact is expected in the following areas:

  • New paradigm shift towards emission-free aviation.
  • Strengthen the medium and long-term European aeronautics competitiveness.
  • Engagement of European aviation research community to a highly ambitious topic.
  • Establishment of roadmaps and prioritization key enabling technologies.
  • Foundations for next-generation European demonstrators.
  • Contribution to UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Planned opening date:
04 December 2018
Deadline: 24 April 2019

Source: HORIZON 2020 – The European Commission