More climate-friendly flying will be tested in Cottbus in the future

More climate-friendly flying will be tested in Cottbus in the future, © Messe Berlin

DLR model of an electric aircraft at ILA 2022.

© Messe Berlin

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Lusatia is making further progress in structural change as a location for the development of low-emission aircraft engines. A test hall has now been inaugurated in Cottbus by the German Aerospace Institute (DLR). Drive trains and components of electric and hybrid-electric aircraft engines will be tested there under real conditions. According to DLR, entire drive trains are assembled and tested for fault behavior or suitability for aviation.

The 13,300 square meter hall is located on the site of the future Lausitz Science Park – a new location for top-level, business-oriented research. The innovation location is intended to accelerate measures for structural change. The Brandenburg Technical University of Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU) is in charge

In the coming months, test rooms will be installed in the hall for tests – for example on the running behavior of electric motors, electromagnetic compatibility and acoustics. According to DLR, the first experiments are planned for mid-2024 and the first projects in 2025.

“The problem is that these engines don’t even fly yet”

The aim is to achieve what already exists in the area of ​​gas turbine drives, particularly in terms of safety standards, explained the director of the DLR Institute for Electrified Aviation, Lars Enghardt. His institute employs 150 people. “The problem with everything is that these engines are not currently flying. What we are researching doesn’t even exist yet,” he made clear. That’s why these large experiments are needed.

The hall is close to the future Center for Hybrid Electric Systems Cottbus (chesco), which is to be built with around 400 jobs by 2026. Climate-friendly aircraft engines for short and medium-haul routes are planned, tested and implemented there. Fraunhofer Institutes, industrial partners such as Rolls-Royce and DLR work together.

Milestone for structural development in Lusatia

“We want to become a new focus in Germany for this topic (…),” said Enghardt and sees the structural change as a tailwind. At the same time, he calls for a higher pace of research and development. “We actually have to hurry, the aircraft manufacturers are scratching their feet.” He expects larger aircraft to fly sustainably by the early 2030s.

Brandenburg’s Science Minister Manja Schüle (SPD) sees the hall as a further milestone in structural development in Lusatia. “It’s fun to see that in Lusatia, where the heart and soul was for coal, the heart and soul will now be for high technology,” she told the DPA.

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