Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Rolls-Royce’s hybrid-electric propulsion system reaches megawatt milestone

Rolls-Royce is developing a 2.5 megawatts hybrid-electric aero power and propulsion system, which is billed as the most powerful of its kind. Engineers are testing the Power Generation System 1 (PGS1), and just weeks after going on the test, the company has announced that the system delivered more than a megawatt of power for the first time.

The demonstrator PGS1 reached the milestone at the newly-renovated Testbed 108 in Bristol, UK. The team is now working toward the grand ambition of using it to deliver up to 2.5 megawatts.

The testing program for PGS1 started in June, while the generator and related power electronics were delivered to Bristol from Norway in July.

The Power Generation System 1 is aimed at providing technology for future hybrid-electric regional aircraft opportunities, and in addition, the generator could be used within a “more-electric” system for larger aircraft or within future ground applications. In addition to the generator, the system incorporates the AE2100 turbo-shaft engine, specialist controls, and a thermal management system.

“We’ve made a tremendous start to testing – reaching a megawatt is a great achievement. Now we want to go further and see what we can ultimately achieve,” said Adam Newman, Chief Project Engineer, Aviation Futures, Rolls-Royce. “Our generator is about the size of a beer keg, yet it has already produced enough electricity to continuously power around 1,000 homes – that is really taking technology to new levels. When future hybrid-electric aircraft opportunities emerge in the megawatt and above class, we want to be as prepared as we can be to offer a ready-made solution.”