EcoPulse is a distributed hybrid-propulsion demonstrator aircraft developed in partnership with Daher and Safran. It took its first flight on 29 November 2023. Airbus is contributing battery technology and aerodynamic modelling to this project, which aims to leverage the benefits of distributed propulsion to improve aircraft performance. 

The untapped potential of distributed propulsion

EcoPulse focuses on evaluating the benefits of distributed propulsion and its possible integration on future aircraft. Distributed propulsion is a system that works by breaking down thrust generation among many small engines distributed along the span. 

By minimising the power of each propulsor and, as a result, their mass, distributed propulsion could unlock a range of possibilities for improved aircraft performance. This includes: 

  • Improved cruising, take-off and landing performance
  • Reduced cabin noise due to better synchronisation between several propellers
  • Increased energy savings thanks to reduced tail surface and better aircraft control

Technical specifications

EcoPulse demonstrator technical specification

Modelling & Simulation 

  • Modelling of the overall aircraft behaviour
  • Comparison with flight test data for more accurate simulations

 

Acoustics

  • Cabin and external noise measurements for better predictions and recommendations

 

High Voltage Battery 

  • Design and development of the Li-ion battery for the demonstrator
  • Ground and Flight testing for performance analysis

Read more on the battery

Distributed Thrust & Aircraft Control 

  • Development of the flight control laws integrating thrust and asymmetric thrust management
  • Aircraft handling qualities assessment

 

Aerodynamics & Performance 

  • Distributed electric propulsion aerodynamic design and associated aircraft performance analysis during flight campaign

A cross-industry collaboration

EcoPulse is based on a modified Daher TBM 900 turboprop aircraft. The standard engine and propeller systems are augmented by six wing-mounted propellers, each of which is driven by a 50-kW Safran ENGINeUS electric engine powered by batteries or a 100-kW auxiliary power unit. 

The demonstrator is developed in partnership with Daher and Safran. The partners contribute the following:

Airbus 

  • Development of a high-energy-density battery to be used as an electric source for the e-Propellers 
  • Aerodynamic and acoustic integration of the distributed-propulsion system 
  • Development of a Flight Control Computer system  

Daher

  • Integration of the components provided by Airbus and Safran into the airframe
  • Flight and airworthiness testing
  • Overall results analysis coordination 

Safran 

  • Distributed hybrid-propulsion system integration (excluding batteries) 

The project is also supported by DGAC (the French Civil Aviation Authority).

Bringing alternative propulsion to future aircraft

The EcoPuls demonstrator project is a part of Airbus’ decarbonisation roadmap, which focuses on developing a mix of solutions to support the transition to low-carbon aviation.   

Other key project objectives include the following:

  • To identify the methods, tools and outcomes needed for the design of a distributed-propulsion aircraft
  • To flight-test a new high-voltage-battery configuration and support flight clearance 
  • To improve alternative-propulsion simulation models for use on larger aircraft 
  • To evaluate the design’s aerodynamic gains (reducing wing surface area and wingtip marginal vortices for less drag)

EcoPulse - Wind tunnel testing

Discover EcoPulseTM, the distributed hybrid-propulsion aircraft demonstrator that Airbus is developing in partnership with Daher and Safran and with the support of CORAC and DGAC.

Latest news

Innovation
EcoPulse demonstrator takes first flight with batteries onboard
Designed to mature the technological bricks of hybrid-electric propulsion systems for future aircraft, EcoPulse reached a milestone when the demonstrator took off on its first test flight.
Read more
Innovation
The EcoPulse aircraft demonstrator makes first hybrid-electric flight
EcoPulse has successfully performed its first flight test in hybrid-electric mode.
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EcoPulse demonstrator takes shape ahead of Paris Airshow
EcoPulse is a Distributed Hybrid-Electric Propulsion aircraft demonstrator jointly developed by Airbus, Daher and Safran. Based on Daher’s TBM light-aircraft platform, this project kick-started in 2019 with an announcement at Le Bourget, supported by CORAC* (the French Civil Aviation Research Council) and co-funded by the French Government* and the EU*.
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