PTA project granted to SOLUTE

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This project consists of the development of an unmanned aircraft propelled by a fuel cell powered by ammonia.

With the beginning of 2023, the ZEROeVTOL project has also started, subsidized with European funds from the Aeronautical Technology Project (PTA). A few months ago we shared the work done to present the project to the CDTI (Center for Technological and Industrial Development) and, at the end of last year 2022, it was approved, so now it is time to give it shape.

This project consists of the development of an unmanned aircraft (UAV or drone, as they are commonly known) propelled by a fuel cell powered by ammonia. In this way, work will be carried out on two lines of innovation within the framework of the PTA: a new type of convertible aircraft, which takes off and lands vertically, like a helicopter, and has wings for cruise flight, like an airplane; and a propulsion system without carbon dioxide emissions or other gases harmful to the environment. This explains the name of the project, ZEROeVTOL.

As well as the objectives, there are also several companies participating in this project, each one contributing knowledge in a specific area. First of all, Ventor Innovations is responsible for the aeronautics, who has designed the innovative concept of the AltaCAB and the V-Pelican (the aircraft to be developed) and who will manufacture them. It is a company specialized in the manufacture of aeronautical components with composite materials and UAV manufacturing. Jalvasub and ATD will be responsible for developing, manufacturing and testing the fuel cells. Finally, SOLUTE will provide, in addition to the project coordination, technical consultancy for calculation and simulation, and will lead the aeronautical certification tasks.

Construction process

Over the next two years, until December 2024, several milestones are planned, from the construction of the first fuel cell in the laboratory to the AltaCAB flight tests. Two aircraft are planned to be built: V-Pelican, with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 250 kg, and AltaCAB, with a MTW of 600 kg and designed as an air cab. Although carrying passengers on board will not be achieved in the short term, the ZEROeVTOL project is expected to result in an autonomous aircraft that can carry passengers without emitting harmful emissions.

Until then, there will be several breakthroughs and innovations that will help society and the companies involved in the project. For SOLUTE in particular, this will be the return to the aeronautical industry after several years. It will also be the gateway to fluid-electric simulations, such as those that happen in the fuel cell; both activities go hand in hand with other projects SOLUTE is embarked on. Of course, there will be other tasks in which SOLUTE has extensive experience, such as structural calculation or hydraulic simulation. In short, the ZEROeVTOL project is a great opportunity for all participants to take a step forward in technology and competitiveness, with a great strategic impact and with the possibility of being the beginning of a leading and revolutionary product in transportation.

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