Electrical Flying Takes Off in Germany’s East

January 2022

The eastern German regional state of Brandenburg has invested more than EUR 38.5 million in the Center for Hybrid Electric Systems in Cottbus (CHESCO), a new research institution focusing on environmentally friendly short- to medium-haul flight.

The center is located at the Brandenburg Technical University (BTU) Cottbus-Senftenberg in the coal-producing Lusatia area. With coal power being phased out in Germany, efforts are underway to transform the regions affected into clean energy hubs for the future .

“CHESCO is a mega-project for Lusatia,” said Brandenburg Minister of Science and Research Manja Schüle at the launch ceremony. “It will be a site for top research on one of the biggest challenges of our times: developing climate friendly aviation propulsion. And CHESCO can be a pull factor for the entire region.”

Airplane engine manufacturer Rolls Royce is part of the project.

“We’re happy to be here in Brandenburg together with the other partners creating a one-of-a-kind industrial ecosystem for low-emissions, hybrid-electric aviation propulsion,” said Rolls-Royce Germany Head of Engineering Jörg Au. “Building upon the excellent skills of our electrical teams in Bavaria and Brandenburg, setting up development, test and production facilities in Dahlewitz and Lusatia will allow us to supply hybrid-electric propulsion systems for the next era of aviation.”

“The German aviation ecosystem has traditionally been geared towards pushing the boundaries of traditional mobility.  To name just one prominent example, it is the German thirst for novel technologies that propels the design of drones and air taxis so that urban air mobility could become a reality in the not-so-distant future” – added Dr. Rainer Müller, GTAI industry expert for aerospace.