MAAT International Airship Project

Comparative size of airships and aircraft

International research collaboration for Lincoln

Lincoln’s PVC Research, Professor Paul Stewart and Professor of Energy Conversion, Chris Bingham, have been awarded high profile European funding for a new research project.

The MAAT (Multibody Advanced Airship for Transport) project sees Profs Stewart and Bingham working as part of a global consortium to take forward airship technology, through funding from the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

The project is being led by the Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy and the Lincoln team will focus on ‘Energy and Propulsive Systems’ with Paul in the role of principal investigator and Chris as co-investigator.

Prof Stewart said: “Airships are currently being developed by various organisations. They open up possibilities for the future of air travel; they are quieter, don’t require runways and are low carbon.

“Chris and I will be looking at how we can make the most efficient use of the energy generated by the photovoltaic cells on the outer body of the airships. We will focus on elements such as the electrical power systems, energy storage and propulsion and the control systems used for flying. By introducing innovative systems we can overcome the limitations of traditional propellers at high altitudes.”

The €multi-million project will run over three years and is one of two FP7-funded projects recently secured by the University. FP7 is the EU funding programme for research and technological development and is open to all disciplines – including social sciences and humanities. With a budget of €50 billion FP7 funds a range of project types, from large scale strategic collaborative research to individual fellowships. It runs until 2013, with new calls for proposals each year.

Why participate in FP7 research?

  • • Internationalisation of research
  • • Benchmarking performance in European context
  • • Range of project types (multi-disciplinary, industrial)
  • • Networking opportunities – research and teaching
  • • Opening up new opportunities
  • • Mobility of staff and students
  • • Research capacity
  • • Pan-European university networks
  • • Links to ‘third stream’ activities


The UK does exceptionally well out of all the countries involved in FP7. A recent UKRO report highlighting UK success rates found that:


  • • proposals from UK applicants were the second highest number from any country (as of October 2010).


  • • the UK has an above average applicant success rate: 24.5%, as opposed to 21.9% for the EU as whole. It also has a higher ‘financial contribution’ success rate: 22.6% as opposed to 20.9%.
  • • to date, 3721 grant agreements have been signed. 19% of participants  are from the UK, the second highest number of participations.
  • • 23.3% of EU funding has gone to UK beneficiaries; again, this is the second largest budget share.
  • • the UK also has an above average SME success rate: an applicant success rate of 22.1%, against EU 19.4%; a financial contribution success rate of 21.4%, against EU 18.3%.

The University’s David Young, Senior Research Facilitator in the  Research and Enterprise Office, is keen to advise and support staff with applications to this fund. For more information about the application process or the specific programmes within the framework contact him via email or on ext 6902.

What’s Lincoln’s involvement in the EU FP7 MAAT Advanced Airship Programme?

The A380 features elements from the More Electric and Power Optimised Aircraft projects

Over the years, Profs Stewart and Bingham in the School of Engineering at the University of Lincoln have been involved in many projects related to the Power Optimised (POA) or More Electric (MEA) Aircraft, primarily in the areas of advanced electrical machines and actuators, power electronic energy converters, and electrical power system design and optimisation.

For example, the EU FP6 MOET (More Open Electrical Technologies) was a 66.61 million euro Integrated Project of 62 European Partners from 15 countries composed of universities, research centres a broad range of aircraft, system and component manufacturers representing the whole supply chain who are ready to set up the PbW (Power by Wire) standard.

In line with the vision 2020, MOET aimed to establish the new industrial standard for commercial aircraft electrical system design, which will directly contribute to strengthening the competitiveness of the aeronautical industry. MOET will also contribute reducing aircraft emissions and improving operational aircraft capacity. Recent National and European research activities and state of the art commercial aircraft developments, have launched more advanced approaches for on-board energy power management systems. These benefits have also been recognised in North America where this is being given special consideration. A step change is necessary to remove current air and hydraulic engine off-takes and further increase the electrical power generation capability.

This in itself will require significant changes to current electrical generation and network techniques. After Fly by wire, the Power by Wire concept (PbW) will enhance aircraft design and use by power source rationalisation and electrical power flexibility. This will be achieved by developing the necessary design principles, technologies and standards.

Over a 3-year period, MOET project objectives were:

– Validate scalable electrical networks up to 1MW considering new voltages and advanced concepts including system transformation of future air, actuation and electrical systems into all electrical solutions,
– Assess the PbW concept integration at aircraft level considering a more composite environment and the interfaces with the avionics world,
– Build a design environment aiming to design and validate standardised solutions and a coherent set of platforms open to the full supply chain, in order to develop an optimised high performance PbW concept.

Lincoln:Engineering and the FP7 MAAT Advanced Airship

In addition to involvement in other work packages, from September 2011, Lincoln:Engineering will be leading the ‘Energy and Propulsive Systems’ work package.

This Work Package is related to the fundamental energy production and propulsion system. It will analyze and define the optimal propulsion both for cruiser and feeder airships focusing on innovative systems which can overcome the traditional limitations of traditional propellers at high altitudes. The purpose of the WP3 Energy and Propulsive Systems is to produce:

  • parametric dimensioning methods for of the cruiser and feeder PV (photovoltaic) roofs
  • design of a thermo-physical system which control the volume and the temperature of the gas ballonets even in presence of ample thermal gradients
  • design of internal energy transport and distribution systems
  • design of energy storage system (electrolytic hydrogen and oxygen) and conversion by fuel cells
  • optimal propulsive systems design of cruiser and feeder, both for their common operative autonomous missions and for their integration inside the MAAT modular cruiser system.

Partners on the EU FP7 Advanced Airship project: Polytechnic of Torino (Energy Department)

Organization: Polytechnic of Torino (Energy Department)

Short name: POLITO

General Description

The Polytechnic of Torino is a research university aiming to get a harmonic development of both fundamental and applied research. The staff includes more than 900 teaching people and about the same number of technical and administrative people working in the framework of 5 faculties, 1 PhD school, 18 Departments and 7 Service Centers. The provisional economic balance for 2010 is estimated to be about 380 millions euro. The University Ministry (MIUR) provides about 1/3 of the incoming. Students are 29300, spread on 96 learning paths (22 short graduations, 31 full graduations, 23 PhD, 20 post-graduation courses) 18 of which fully English teaching.

Energy Department basically studies energy conversion processes, developing the research and teaching activi- ties about subjects like combustion, nuclear fission and fusion, aerospace propulsion, pneumatic, internal com- bustion engines, energy systems environmental impact, thermal economy, safety and risk analysis of energy and transport systems, internal environment engineering.

Main related expertise

Emilio Cafaro, professor, born in Lecce on July 14-th 1952, graduated in Nuclear Engineering at Polytechnic of Torino and had the PhD at the Energy Department of the Polytechnic of Torino. His graduation and PhD disser- tations have been carried out at the Université Libre in Bruxelles (Physical Chemistry Department, Prof. Ilya Prigogine) and at Von Karman Institute for Fluid-dynamics in Bruxelles (Environmental Aerodynamics Depart- ment Prof. D. Olivari).irrespectively. He won a free competition for Associated Professor in the subject group ―Fisica Tecnica‖ at the Engineering Faculty of Polytechnic of Torino on the Termodinamica Applicata chair since 1992. At present he is teacher of the following courses: Sistemi a Combustione; Accumulo e Trasporto dell‘Energia; the courses are both attaining the full graduation of ―Ingegneria Energetica e Nucleare‖ and in charge of the following PhD courses: Modellazione e Simulazione Numerica di Flussi Turbolenti, Ingegneria della Sicurezza Antincendio ed Analisi di Rischio.

Carlo Cima, engineer, born in Brescia on February 18-th 1962 graduated cum laude in Nuclear Engineering at Polytechnic of Torino and had the PhD at the Energy Department of the Polytechnic of Torino. He won a compe- tition for University Researcher in the subject group ―Fisica Tecnica‖ at the Engineering Faculty of Polytechnic of Torino in 1995. His research activities attain the following fields: Combustion theory and applications, Nu- merical modelling and simulation of turbulent reactive flows, Fire safety engineering and risk analysis.

Related publications (others related publications in attachment): L. De Giorgi, V. Bertola, E. Cafaro, C. Cima, Controlling Numerical Solutions By Entropy Analysis, Proceed- ings Of The International Heat Transfer Conference Ihtc14, Washington, Dc, USA, August 8-13, 2010. L. De Giorgi, V. Bertola, E. Cafaro, C. Cima, M. De Salve, B. Panella, Heat Transfer In Liquid Nitrogen Flows Inside Smooth Pipes, Proceedings Of The International Heat Transfer Conference Ihtc14, Washington, Dc, USA, August 8-13, 2010. Bertola V, Cafaro E., Cima C, Testa A (2002). Cooling Properties Of A Dilute Aqueous Polymeric Solution. Aiaa Paper, Vol. 2002-0497, Issn: 0146-3705 Cafaro E., Cima C (1993). Non-Linear Analysis Of The Two-Dimensional Rayleigh-Taylor Instability. Interna- tional Communications In Heat And Mass Transfer, Vol. 20; P. 597-603, Issn: 0735-1933

Partners on the EU FP7 Advanced Airship project: Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Vakgroep Toegepaste Mechanica

Organization: Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Vakgroep Toegepaste Mechanica Short name: VUB

General Description

The Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics Research Group at the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering (MECH) of Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) has been in the forefront of the fluid dynamic research for more than two dec- ades. It is conducting research activities in Computational and Experimental Fluid Dynamics (CFD, EFD) as support to the industrial and government organizations. MECH has experience and results (software, methods, tools and techniques) in the areas of data analysis and visualization, where the interoperability and transparency for the distributed visualization of heterogeneous data sets is promoted to be extended towards the semantically rich multidisciplinary engineering web-applications. In addition, it has a laboratory with two subsonic wind tunnels and state-of-the-art measuring equipment such as LDA and PIV to conduct fluid dynamic research, and it own computer center with several customized multiprocessors servers.

Main related expertise

Dean Vucinic, professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel is responsible for the Research and Development of the scientific visualization technologies in European R&D projects sup- ported by the European Framework Programs, the EUREKA program and the Tempus educational program. Ship Screw Designer, Naval Architect and CAD/CAM expert, Senior Research Scientist. Related publications (others related publications in attachment):

D. Vucinic, “Object Oriented Programming For Computer Graphics And Flow Visualization,” In Vki Lecture Series On Computer Graphics And Flow Visualization In Cfd. Vol. Vki Monograph 1991-07 Von Karman Insti- tute For Fluid Dynamics, Brussels, Belgium, 1991, P. 37. D. Vucinic, M. Pottiez, V. Sotiaux, And C. Hirsch, “Cfview – An Advanced Interactive Visualization System Based On Object-Oriented Approach,” In Aiaa 30th Aerospace Sciences Meeting Reno, Nevada, 1992.

C. Hirsch, J. Torreele, D. Keymeulen, D. Vucinic, And J. Decuyper, “Distributed Visualization In Cfd ” Speedup Journal, Volume 8, Number 1, 1994. D. Vucinic And B. K. Hazarika, “Integrated Approach To Computational And Experimental Flow Visualization Of A Double Annular Confined Jet,” Journal Of Visualization, Vol.4, No. 3, 2001.

K. Grijspeerdt, B. K. Hazarika, And D. Vucinic, “Application Of Computational Fluid Dynamics To Model The Hydrodynamic Of Plate Heat Exchangers For Milk Processing,” Journal Of Food Engineering, Vol. 57, Pp. 237- 242, May 2003. D. Vucinic, ―Advance Scientific Visualization, A Multidisciplinary Technlogy Based On Engineering And Com- puter Science‖, International Journal Of Electrical And Computer Engineering Systems Issn 1847-6996, Volume 1, Number 1, June 2010.

D. Vucinic, “Multidisciplinary Visualization Aspects In European R&D Projects”, Proceedings Of The ASME 2010, Imece2010-39874, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 2010.