Honeywell has announced a new Micro Vapor Cycle System (MicroVCS) cooling solution designed specifically for urban air mobility (UAM) and electric aircraft.
According to Honeywell, the lightweight MicroVCS uses a high-speed centrifugal compressor, next-generation refrigerant, and power electronics with silicon carbide switches to generate cold air or liquid that can be used to cool heat-generating electronic components, batteries, and the cockpits and cabins of UAM aircraft. The system is said to be up to 35 percent lighter and 20 percent more efficient than conventional vapor cycle systems with comparable cooling capacity.
Honeywell said it is already working with several UAM aircraft developers to apply the MicroVCS in their air mobility platforms. The technology will also soon be incorporated into Eviation’s all-electric Alice airplane, where it will be used to cool the cabin and avionics.
“In an all-electric aircraft, every ounce counts, so we needed an efficient way to provide cooling comfort for passengers in our fleet without adding excessive weight,” stated Omer Bar-Yohay, CEO at Eviation, in a press release. “Our adoption of the MicroVCS will ensure better aircraft uptime and reduce our overall operating costs while enhancing our passengers’ experience.”
The MicroVCS compressor is derived from mature, fielded units in aircraft including the Lockheed Martin F-22 and Northrop Grumman E2-C/D. Honeywell said the oil-free technology and small number of moving parts in the MicroVCS make it “virtually maintenance-free” over the life of the system.
“Aircraft in the emerging UAM or all-electric categories will need to be lightweight and avoid significant downtime for maintenance. It will also be extremely important to maintain battery temperature and ensure passenger comfort,” noted Tom Hart, Honeywell Aerospace’s vice president and general manager for Air & Thermal Systems.
The MicroVCS is the latest in a series of products Honeywell is developing specifically for UAM aircraft. The company recently announced the launch of a new business unit dedicated to UAM and unmanned aerial systems as it continues to grow its portfolio for these markets.