SPEC: in the quest for the “more-electric” aircraft

As it has done every two years since its formation in 2004, the SPEC (Safran Power Electronics Center) skills hub is assembling once again to present its projects and the state of progress to date.

Working upstream on the technologies in order to lay the groundwork for the "more-electric" aircraft: this is the objective of the SPEC (Safran Power Electronics Center) skills hub. Following on from the SPEC 2 symposium, in late 2007, which enabled a works progress plan to be drawn up, the third skills center meeting (SPEC 3), which is to take place on November 18 and 19 at the Génocentre Evry, near Paris, will provide the occasion to unveil the results obtained to the various Safran Group companies involved in the initiative, as well as to partners and clients.
he more-electric aircraft project is designed to replace mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic units with electrical systems,recaps Régis Meuret, expert in power electronics at Hispano-Suiza (Safran group) and manager of the SPEC hub. A cross-section of our work will be presented along thematic lines. This will provide a summary of two years' work." As well as Safran's clients, researchers from some two dozen laboratories, working on 27 different topics, will also be present. Some of these will be giving presentations on the progress of the work that they have been doing.

More electric and greener

The subjects addressed will include the optimization of system reliability - thanks to new types of power electronics assemblies - and the reduced need for cooling via the improvement of electronic components with increased heat capacity. "We shall be presenting an electrical brake demonstrator whose electronic components can operate at up to 200°C. thanks to the use of silicon carbide, as compared to 100 - 110°C currently," explains Régis Meuret. "Our work on composites will also enable weight reduction and the concomitant reduction of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. This leads us therefore towards a greener aircraft with increased gains in terms of yield."
With SPEC 3, therefore, the program has reached maturity. "What we also need to appreciate is that our network of industrial partners has been reinforced," Régis Meuret concludes. "There has been an expansion of collaborative effort with laboratories in the United States, Switzerland and Germany."