British aero-engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce has announced the initiation of testing for its innovative small gas turbine designed specifically to power hybrid-electric flight.
The engine is an integral part of a turbogenerator system developed for the Advanced Air Mobility market, catering to applications such as electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) Aircraft for Urban Air Mobility and Commuter Aircraft with seating capacities of up to 19.
The turbogenerator system complements Rolls-Royce’s electrical propulsion portfolio by offering scalable power options and extended range capabilities using sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and hydrogen combustion. It offers Rolls-Royce’s electrical propulsion portfolio by offering scalable power options ranging from 500kW to 1200kW. This enables extended-range capabilities using SAF and hydrogen combustion.
By utilizing this system, aircraft can operate on new, longer routes that surpass the limitations of current battery-powered electric aircraft. The newly designed combustion engine incorporates recent advancements to significantly enhance the efficiency of small gas turbines.
The turbogenerator can be utilized in serial or parallel hybrid applications, making it suitable for recharging batteries and directly powering electrical propulsion units. This versatility allows aircraft to seamlessly switch between power sources during flight.
Over the next few months, the engine will undergo testing using stable fuel (SAF) and run at Rolls-Royce’s test site in Dahlewitz. The Rolls-Royce Power Gearbox test facility was modified to meet the new engine’s requirements and validate its capabilities.
Rolls-Royce continues to develop power and propulsion systems for electric and hybrid-electric aircraft.