A subsidiary of The Boeing Company has joined efforts to design and develop an electric propulsion system for a light aircraft.

Bye Energy is planning on the Skywhawk’s first electric flight taking place in the spring

Jeppesen, part of Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, is to collaborate on work by alternative aviation specialist Bye Energy, Inc., and Cessna to produce an electrically-powered Cessna 172 Skyhawk.

It will collaborate on the design and development of the proof-of-concept aircraft, and co-market the so-called Green Flight Project.

Bye Energy is planning to fly the electric-powered Skyhawk in the spring of 2011.

Jeppesen President and CEO Mark Van Tine will join Bye Energy’s Strategic Advisory Council, working to “guide the industry transition” to alternative energy technologies, the companies said.

Mr Van Tine said: “We believe in the future of general aviation and are pleased to help this critical effort. In the near future, The Green Flight Project will demonstrate clean, quiet electric propulsion by flying its proof-of-concept Cessna 172 Skyhawk aircraft. That’s great news for the many pilots that rely on Jeppesen products for training and navigation and an innovative forward leap for general aviation.”

George Bye, CEO of Bye Energy Inc., said: “We are honored to work with Jeppesen in supporting this effort. Their expertise will help us prepare the next generation of aviation products for the next generation of general aviation pilots.”

Cessna

Bye Energy, which just like Jeppesen has its headquarters in Englewood, Colorado, has been working on clean energy alternatives for aircraft since 2008. As well as all-electric planes, it is developing hybrid aircraft systems and biofuel-powered systems.

The link-up with Cessna was announced over the summer (see this BrighterEnergy.org story).

This month has seen ground testing getting underway on various hardware components of the initial electric propulsion system for the electric Skyhawk.

Mr Bye said: “Early test results are confirming that our assumptions of the benefit of electric propulsion are positive. I would like to once again thank everyone at Cessna for their outstanding support and collaboration on this ambitious effort.”

Batteries

Last week, the company announced that it will use Dow Kokam advanced lithium polymer cells for its electric and electric-hybrid propulsion systems.

Batteries used for aircraft will need to be as light and energy dense as possible, but Bye Energy has said it believes recent developments in the technology have got to the stage where battery weight and energy density is now approaching sufficient capacity for practical airplane use.

Dow Kokam is a joint venture between The Dow Chemical Company, TK Advanced Battery LLC and Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault, formed in 2009 to develop advanced energy storage technologies.

The company is establishing battery manufacturing facilities in Michigan (see this BrighterEnergy.org story).

Jeff Kostos, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Dow Kokam, said: “Choosing Dow Kokam technology for this critical application demonstrates that real advanced battery solutions exist today for aeronautic and aviation applications.”


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