Embraer and Collins Aerospace Demonstrate Advanced Ice Protection System Utilizing More Electric Aircraft (MEA) Technology
Embraer and Collins Aerospace collaborate on the development and testing of an innovative carbon nanotube electrothermal heating technology (CNT) for ice-protection systems, seeking to create more efficient and sustainable aircraft. The project is part of the More Electric Aircraft (MEA) technologies development approach, which includes a series of industry initiatives to ensure the commitment to net-zero emission by 2050.
The project recently achieved a major milestone by initiating a flight-test campaign at Embraer’s Gavião Peixoto unit in Brazil. The new CNT ice-protection system solution was successfully installed on the vertical stabilizer and flight-tested in Embraer’s fully functional Phenom 300E prototype. Collins’ CNT heater and ice-protection controller were integrated into the prototype aircraft before executing over 10 hours of ground and “dry air” flight tests.
“We are very encouraged by the recent test results, and we are convinced that this innovative technology will meet our ambitious technological and sustainability roadmap,” says Luís Carlos Affonso, senior vice president, Engineering, Technology Development and Corporate Strategy at Embraer. “We are glad to have Collins on this journey to explore further partnership opportunities that will help create a net-zero carbon aviation industry.”
“This electrothermal CNT technology is more energy-efficient, lighter and uses greener manufacturing processes than current systems, and we believe it will become the future standard for ice protection — including those in more electric aircraft designs,” says Dr. Mauro Atalla, senior vice president, Engineering and Technology for Collins Aerospace. “Collaborations such as the one between Collins and Embraer are helping innovations like this come to market more quickly.”
Heaters based on CNT technology present significant advantages when compared to existing metallic heaters, including eliminating the chemical etching process, lowering the energy requirement by 25 percent at system level, and minimizing aerodynamic-adverse effects caused by ice. The CNT’s lightweight heater element is significantly lighter than a conventional metallic heater, features enhanced damage tolerance, and should result in a longer product life cycle.