UNNC approved to construct the Engineering Research Centre at provincial level in aviation electrification

12 November 2021

12 November: University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) has been approved by Zhejiang Development and Reform Commission to establish Zhejiang Aviation Electrification Technology Engineering Research Centre. It is the only provincial engineering research centre approved in the field of aviation electrification, marking a milestone of University’s research innovation development and the industrialisation of research outcomes.  

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The Zhejiang Aviation Electrification Technology Engineering Research Centre (Hereinafter referred to as the Centre) is co-established by Ningbo Yunsheng Motor Technology Co., Ltd and Nottingham Electrification Centre. In the future, the Centre is committed to building a world-class systematic electrification technology engineering research centre, integrating functions including key technology development, knowledge transfers and talent cultivation.

Led by Professor He Zhang, Director of the Nottingham Electrification Centre and Professor in Electrical Drives at UNNC, the goal of the Centre is to conduct key research on core components of aviation electrification and promote advanced machine drive technology for future transport electrification.

Regarding the Centre as a starting platform, we hope to construct a world-class team to make substantial contributions to aviation industry in terms of technology advancement and talent cultivation, combining the forward-looking demands to the aero manufacturing industry in and around Zhejiang Province

Professor He Zhang

The Centre is hosted by the School of Aerospace Engineering at UNNC. Founded in 2017, the School conducts research in the field of aviation technology. The School hosts an excellent, international, research team in the field of Electrification, Power Electronics, Machines and Control Research Group.

According to Professor Zhang, the core research in the field of aviation electrification is the electric drive system with high reliability, high power density and high efficiency. The team has achieved breakthrough in the key technology in developing aviation advanced motor system with ultra-high power density, which is applied to the Starter/Generator system for domestic commercial aircrafts of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China. In May 2021, a frontier Major-Project on “green taxiing” was approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China.

The team has successfully developed high-speed, sensor-less FOC technology for drone propulsion system, and made its first sales of the product to a drone manufacturer in Israel. In the area of heavy-lift drone motor technologies, the fault-tolerant control technology developed independently by the team has been applied to multiclass 300 kg heavy-lift drones, pushing the technology frontier for domestic drones with remarkable economic and social benefits.

The construction period of the Centre will be finished in 2024. By then the Centre will improve the technology level and the product competitiveness of enterprises in the aero electrical drive industry in Zhejiang, providing crucial technical and intellectual support for the innovation and development of the aviation industry in the Province and generating significant economic and social welfare.