Collins Aerospace has officially opened its new US$50 million power systems testing laboratory, called The Grid, to develop and test components for hybrid-electric propulsion systems that will be used in aircraft.
The 25,000 square feet laboratory in Rockford, Illinois has an initial test capability of 8MW. The first projects being tested in The Grid include Collins’ 1MW motor for the RTX hybrid-electric flight demonstrator and the EU’s Clean Aviation SWITCH program, as well as its 1MW generator for the US Air Force Research Laboratory.
Henry Brooks, president, power and controls for Collins Aerospace said, “Hybrid-electric aircraft will help our industry significantly reduce carbon emissions, and with The Grid, the most sophisticated lab of its kind, we are investing to help these aircraft take flight.
“In the coming years, we will use The Grid to break new ground in the development of electric systems that are more powerful, more efficient and lighter than ever before. And in doing so, we will help create a new generation of green aircraft that operate more sustainably with reduced impact on our environment.”
Family of motors
At the opening, Collins displayed its 1MW motor and revealed for the first time a 250 kilowatt motor. The company plans to develop a family of electric motors that can be scaled up or down to meet the needs of different-sized aircraft.
“Across the industry, airframers are exploring electrification options for a range of different platforms including unmanned aerial vehicles, business jets, helicopters and single-aisle planes,” said Brooks. “Whatever the application, whether commercial or military, hybrid-electric propulsion or more electric systems, we are working to ensure Collins is ready with the latest electric technology to meet our customers’ needs.”