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Paris 2023: New Rolls-Royce small engine set to begin tests to advance hybrid-electric flight

Rolls-Royce today announced its new small gas turbine that has been specifically developed to power hybrid-electric flight is set to begin testing. The company says the engine is part of a turbogenerator system that is being developed for the Advanced Air Mobility market. This includes electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) Aircraft for Urban Air Mobility and Commuter Aircraft applications up to 19 seats.

“The turbogenerator system will complement the Rolls-Royce Electrical propulsion portfolio by delivering an on-board power source with scalable power offerings between 500kW and 1200kW enabling extended range on sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and later, as it becomes available, through hydrogen combustion” according to the press release.

Olaf Otto, President – Electrical, said:  “The development of the turbogenerator system is combining Rolls-Royce’s electrical and gas turbine development competencies. The new combustion engine uses recent technology developments to achieve a step change in efficiency of small gas turbines. The turbogenerator can be used in serial or parallel hybrid applications. It is well suited to recharge batteries as well as provide energy to electrical propulsion units directly and therefore enables aircraft to switch between power sources in flight. The research and development of this technology is being partially funded by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.”

Rolls-Royce says this engine will be tested on SAF in the coming months and will be used for the commissioning of the company’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.

Rolls-Royce reports also it is developing complete power and propulsion systems for all-electric and hybrid-electric applications. “Our systems under design feature the latest technology, from power generation and energy storage via power electronics and control systems to electric motors” said a company spokesperson.

For more information

(Image: Rolls-Royce)

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