IGNITE sparks new idea for electric aircraft test system

Two former engineering student rivals have joined forces to lead a new Clean Sky -funded project worth 900,000 to develop an on-ground, high-power high-speed testing system for electric aircraft.

Project ‘IGNITE’, which launches on 1 November, will have global application with the likes of industry leaders such as Safran.

The four-year initiative brings together Dr Tao Yang - now Assistant Professor with the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and The Institute of Aerospace Technologies at the University of Nottingham - and Dr Beniamino Guida who runs his own business, Aeromechs.

Dr Tao Yang , a University of Nottingham graduate in electrical engineering, said: “The project will demonstrate high-speed high-power electrical generation technologies, which are essential for future hybrid and fully electric aircraft. The successful delivery of this project will consolidate the leading position of University of Nottingham in hybrid propulsion and electric aircraft.

“I also feel very pleased to work with Dr. Beniamino Guida on this project. We got the Clean Sky Best PhD Award together and now have this great opportunity to contribute to the Clean Sky agenda. It is really exciting.”

In 2016 Tao was awarded first place, and Beniamino won second place, in the Clean Sky best PhD competition. More recently, the pair have evolved from competitors to research partners on IGNITE, combining Tao’s expertise in electrical high-speed drives and Beniamino’s in testing control.

Dr Beniamino Guida, who studied electrical engineering at the Second University of Naples (now The University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli), said: “Working in IGNITE together with Tao and the University of Nottingham team is an excellent opportunity to increase the Aeromechs skills in development of supervisory and control systems for aircraft electrical systems.

“As an SME focused since its foundation on R&D projects with innovative applications in aeronautic field, IGNITE is perfectly aligned with the company’s plan for further growth. Starting this new collaboration with the University of Nottingham is something really exciting for us and will surely have a great outcome.”