Ready for take-off: Since spring, the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU) has been working with external partners to implement publicly funded research projects in the field of hybrid-electric drives. In addition to the university structures, a limited liability company (GmbH) owned by the BTU has now been founded to handle the research projects. The company is intended to optimize the transfer of knowledge and technology from within the university and to strengthen the compatibility of science and research with industry and funding agencies.
Thus, the project 'Center for Hybrid Electric Systems Cottbus' (chesco) takes shape. At the beginning of the year, Science and Research Minister Dr. Manja Schüle gave the go-ahead for the CHESCO project as part of the structural development of Lusatia and handed over to BTU President Prof. Dr. Gesine Grande a grant notification from the Investment Bank of the State of Brandenburg for around 38.56 million euros for CHESCO. The research and cooperation center will plan, test and implement climate-friendly flight propulsion systems for short- and medium-haul flights.
Prof. Dr. Gesine Grande, President of BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg: "We are pleased that after two years of intensive preparation we have now completed the foundation of chesco GmbH and will soon add a central scientific facility at BTU. chesco is taking more and more shape. We have thus created the prerequisites for rapidly establishing the exceptional project chesco here at the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg and turning it into a great success for science and industry in the region, but also beyond the region. I am incredibly excited about the next steps."
At today's cabinet meeting, Minister of Culture and Science Dr. Manja Schüle presented the current status of chesco: "The chesco mega-project is tackling one of the greatest challenges of our time with cutting-edge research: the development of climate-friendly aircraft engines! The center is to become a hub for cooperation projects with regional business partners, researchers and scientists in co-working spaces - and already is. Since spring, corresponding research projects have been implemented in rented halls. Here we benefit from the existing structures of the BTU, from whose ranks the project emerged. The university's own limited liability company, which has now been founded, will strengthen the compatibility of science and research with industry and funding agencies. In Cottbus, we have a proven infrastructure and a constantly developing regional and international network - as well as an excellent partner in the field of electric drives in Rolls-Royce, just one of the many powerful players. chesco will become a hotbed of innovation and transformation in the heart of Lusatia. I am convinced that whoever invests in innovation invests in the future."
Initially, the research will mainly be commissioned from publicly funded research programs. The university has already successfully applied to various programs. Thanks to chesco's excellent equipment and the expertise it has accumulated over time, the BTU believes it has good chances in the future.
Within the framework of the 'Center for Hybrid Electric Systems Cottbus', BTU scientists led by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus Höschler and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Georg Möhlenkamp will work on solutions for propulsion systems in aviation as well as for rail, road and off-road applications. Hybrid-electric drives - and thus the combination of gas turbine with generator or fuel cell, battery and electric motor - enable many different drive systems. New aircraft designs for short- and medium-haul traffic could significantly reduce emissions of climate-damaging gases in the future. CHESCO aims to accelerate the development time of innovative propulsion technologies by centrally bundling research and manufacturing competencies: A scientific facility, the Research Center, is used to develop the design of components and systems. In the Fast-Make Electrification Rese-arch Center (f-merc), researchers create prototypes that are tested in the Test Center. In collaboration with the Institute for Electrified Aerospace Propulsion Systems of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), several Fraunhofer institutes and industrial partners such as Rolls-Royce Deutschland, an integrated research center will be created in the Technology and Industrial Park in the north of Cottbus by 2026. In the future, up to 400 employees will work at chesco.
Funding for the construction projects and equipment associated with CHESCO is provided by the Brandenburg State Chancellery's funding guideline for the structural development of Lusatia, with the funds coming from the federal government's Structural Strengthening Act. 2021, the eligibility of the chesco project for funding was confirmed by the interministerial working group (IMAG) Lausitz of the state government. In the coming years, a total of 238 million euros will flow into the development and equipment of the research center.