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Bombardier APU passes extreme cold-weather test

System is a progression towards a 'more electric aircraft'.


MONTREAL — Bombardier Aerospace has passed another milestone in the development of a bleedless auxiliary power unit (APU) that will operate in extremely cold conditions.

The tests conducted in April at the Turbomeca (Safran) cold chamber facility in Pau, France, involved a 10-hour cold soak at -40 degrees C using a starter/generation system and a lithium-ion battery system.

Turbomeca is a French manufacturer of low- and medium-power gas turbine turboshaft engines for helicopters.

Microturbo (Safran), a French developer of low-power gas turbines, provided the global unrestricted e-APU system, including a starter generator and power electronics provided by the Thales Group, a French multinational, and the battery system provided by Saft, a French battery manufacturer.

All of the prototype equipment was designed for business jet applications.

Bombardier, the Montreal-based aerospace company, says the key benefits of this new technology include fewer materials and lighter weight, which reduces fuel burn and emissions, delivers longer APU life and allows unrestricted operation at extremely low temperatures. It will also simplify the aircraft manufacturing and assembly processes and lead to reduced maintenance costs.

“We tested the systems in extreme conditions, including robustness with end of life battery and reached a critical milestone for technology readiness level 5,”said Fassi Kafyeke, director, Advanced Design and Strategic Technologies, Bombardier Aerospace.

Bombardier says the system is a progression towards a ‘more electric aircraft’ using electrical power as a primary and more efficient means to operate systems, and Li-ion improved power density for unrestricted starting.

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