Dovetail Electric Aviation uses digital twins to pioneer sustainable aviation

Siemens Ltd

Friday, 21 June, 2024

Dovetail Electric Aviation uses digital twins to pioneer sustainable aviation

Headquartered in Australia and with operations in Spain, sustainable aviation company Dovetail Electric Aviation (Dovetail) is currently the only company worldwide converting Cessna 208s into zero-emission battery electric, and the only company designing a hydrogen-electric retrofit for the Beechcraft King Air. Dovetail recently signed Scandinavian Seaplanes as a customer and counts Regional Express (Australia), Victorian Government (Australia), Air Nostrum (Iberia’s regional airline, Spain) and Volotea (Spain) amongst its investors or financial supporters.

Dovetail recently selected the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio of software to design zero emission, battery and hydrogen-electric propulsion systems for its aircraft retrofit projects. Optimising the principles of circular economy, the propulsion systems will be retrofitted into legacy aircraft used by regional airlines and leisure and cargo flights, helping them reduce operating costs by up to 40%, while decarbonising air transport.

Siemens’ NX X software for cloud-enabled computer-aided design (CAD) will help Dovetail develop the propulsion systems and engines, creating seamless collaborative workflows between teams based in Spain and Australia. Siemens said Dovetail will benefit from turning digital twin design concepts and iterations into prototypes more quickly, thereby saving time in design and rework.

“Whilst a lot has changed in the world of aviation, the fundamental structure of an aircraft hasn’t changed much. Therefore, it makes perfect business and sustainability sense to retrofit capable aircraft with new-generation, zero-emissions drivetrains that take a significant step towards cleaner air travel,” said David Doral, CEO of Dovetail Electric Aviation. “This helps us collectively achieve net zero and saves costs.

“As we’ve grown, we’ve realised the need to invest in software that helps us create digital twins of the propulsion systems we design, that is also easily accessible worldwide and increases collaboration between our design teams in Australia and Spain. Siemens’ software is at the heart of our ability to deliver zero-emissions air travel, whilst enabling aircraft operators to reduce operating costs by up to 40%.”

In addition to bringing to market a battery electric propulsion concept, Dovetail is also developing a hydrogen-electric version, including a fuel cell and a hydrogen storage system.

NX X will enable Dovetail to be efficient in editing and viewing complex design models, speed up product development and more effectively manage the design process by creating a digital thread, a single source of truth, through the design process.

Speaking on the announcement, Samantha Murray, the Managing Director of Siemens Digital Industries Software, Australia and New Zealand, welcomed Dovetail to a growing portfolio of customers that already includes Emirates Team New Zealand, Gilmour Space Technologies, Space Machines Company, Rocket Lab and many others in the region.

“Digital twins are vital when designing mission-critical final products such as race cars, racing yachts, ships, space satellites and now, alternative aircraft propulsion systems,” she said. “Our software has a great history and heritage of helping various companies push the boundaries and go beyond frontiers. It’s great to now be part of Dovetail’s journey as they use technology and innovation to address the biggest challenge of our time: climate change.

“We talk about the importance of circular economy in economic and environmental sustainability and here’s a great example of a company achieving just that using our software.”

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