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Honeywell’s latest “Turbogenerator” to power aircraft with biofuel

By Chris Stonor

Honeywell has announced this week, it is developing a new power source for its hybrid-electric aircraft, planned for trial in the Autumn, reports a company press release.

This latest 1-Megawatt generator weighs 280 lbs, the same weight as a motor scooter, and delivers enough energy to power an entire apartment block. The generator is to be combined with the Honeywell HGT1700 auxiliary power unit, currently flown on every Airbus A350 XWB, to form a turbogenerator 2.5 times more powerful than the version the company unveiled in 2019.

The release says, “(It) has the ability to run on aviation biofuel, including Honeywell Green Jet Fuel, which is chemically similar to fossil fuel but made from more sustainable alternatives, as well as conventional jet fuel and diesel.”

This turbogenerator can be used to operate high-power electric motors or charge batteries from heavy-lift cargo drones and air taxis to commuter eVTOLs.

Stephane Fymat, Vice President and General Manager for Unmanned Aerial Systems and Urban Air Mobility at Honeywell Aerospace, said, ”There is an inherent need for electric and hybrid-electric power as the urban air mobility segment takes shape and unmanned aerial vehicles enter service.”

He continued, ”Our turbogenerators provide a safe, lightweight package to serve these burgeoning segments, and we’re designing our solutions to meet the unique needs of customers developing aerial vehicles of the future.”

Stephane Fymat

While conventional aircraft use fuel-burning engines to mechanically turn rotors, propellers or fans, many new designs, however, use “a distributed electric propulsion architecture, in which many electric motors can be tilted or turned off for vertical takeoff and horizontal flight.” A Honeywell turbogenerator can provide electric power for multiple electric motors anywhere on an aircraft.

Taylor Alberstadt, senior director of Power Systems Business Development at Honeywell Aerospace, commented, ”Honeywell’s unrivalled legacy in the manufacturing of auxiliary power units and larger gas turbine engines gives us the ability to create unique power systems for future vehicles. We think the future of aviation will include many new types of propulsion and power systems, and Honeywell is prepared to lead the way in their development.”

Previous UAMN Article on Honeywell:

In December, Honeywell signed a MoU with British start-up Faradair Aerospace to partner on systems and a turbogeneration unit that will run on sustainable aviation fuel to power Faradair’s Bio Electric Hybrid Aircraft (BEHA).

Faradair intends to deliver 300 hybrid-electric BEHAs into service by 2030, of which 150 will be in a firefighting configuration. Honeywell is in advanced discussions with several other potential turbogenerator customers, working to help define power requirements based on mission profiles required by various manufacturers.

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