Rolls-Royce readying tests for hybrid-electric aircraft engine


Rolls-Royce is to start testing a small gas turbine engine that will form part of a turbogenerator system for hybrid-electric aircraft in the coming months

The engine is part of a turbogenerator system being developed for eVTOL aircraft and commuter aircraft of up to 19 seats.

The turbogenerator system will deliver an on-board power source between 500kW and 1,200kW, enabling extended ranges for hybrid-electric aircraft.  The system will also be suitable for use with sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and later, as it becomes available hydrogen combustion propulsion.

Olaf Otto, president – of electrical at Rolls-Royce said, “The Pass-To-Test of our small engine that will power our turbogenerator system is an important step forward. This product will enable our customers to extend the routes that electric flight can support and means more passengers will be able to travel further on low to net zero emissions aircraft.”

The new combustion engine can be used in serial or parallel hybrid applications and can be used to recharge batteries as well as provide energy to electrical propulsion units directly and therefore enables aircraft to switch between power sources in flight.

This engine will be tested in the coming months and will be commissioned at Rolls-Royce’s test facility in Dahlewitz. The Rolls-Royce Power Gearbox test facility has been modified to accommodate testing of the new engine and to confirm the engine’s technical attributes.

The R&D of the turbogenerator system is being partially funded by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.

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