21 July 2020
Delta Motorsport is working on a highly advanced battery pack design at its Silverstone Park premises for use in a government backed project to develop electric aviation.
Delta is one of seven partners in ‘Project Fresson’, being led by Cranfield University ‘off-shoot’ CAeS (Cranfield Aerospace), a leading aircraft integrator in green commercial aviation.
Cranfield University and WMG (University of Warwick) – both with ties to Silverstone Park – are also involved in the 30-month project.
After the opening six months of work, Delta co-founder Simon Dowson said: “This is our first aviation project and it is very challenging from an engineering perspective because of the environment it is being designed for…
“The performance of the system is very high because of the energy/power needed to reach the required altitude and then, when you get to that altitude, you have to factor in things such as temperature and pressures.
“It is requiring a lot of effort because not many people have tried this before, plus there are a lot of regulatory things to work through.
“But it is very exciting at the same time for our engineers. The project objective is to produce a system that can be fitted to existing commercial aircraft.
“It is also enabling us to explore and understand new things we perhaps hadn’t attempted before, but which we can potentially apply to other non-aviation projects.”
Overall, Project Fresson has received a grant of £9 million to design, manufacture and integrate a hybrid-electric propulsion system into a 9-seat Britten-Norman (B-N) Islander aircraft, which is typically used on short flights such as island-hopping routes.
The grant is provided through the ATI Programme: a partnership of the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), the Department for Business, Energy & Industry Strategy, and Innovate UK to maintain and grow the UK’s competitive position in civil aerospace design and manufacture.
Other partners include Rolls Royce, the Denis Ferranti Group and Britten-Norman, the aircraft OEM.
Fresson marks the latest high profile, low carbon transportation project to use Delta’s expertise – earlier this year, its systems were included in the design of a revolutionary new autonomous vehicle platform, MOTIV®, led by legendary former F1 designer Gordon Murray’s business, Gordon Murray Design.