A new small gas turbine from Rolls-Royce, specially designed for hybrid-electric flights, has successfully completed its first bench test. The engine has been designed using new combustion technology to produce ultra-low emissions and the compact, power-density turbine will be integrated into a lightweight turbogenerator system.
A turbine engine intended for ADAVe and ADACe
A new small gas turbine developed by Rolls-Royce, specifically designed for hybrid-electric flights, has successfully completed its first bench test. The engine has been designed using new combustion technology to produce ultra-low emissions and this significant result confirms the efficiency of the compact, high power density turbine, which will be integrated into a turbogenerator system light. The complete turbogenerator system is developed for the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) market. These include electric vertical take-off and landing (ADAVe or eVTOL) or electric short take-off and landing (ADACe or eSTOL) aircraft for urban air mobility (UAM) and switch-up aircraft applications. at 19 places. The tested gas turbine also has potential applications in the helicopter, auxiliary power unit (APU) and defense markets.
Two years since the concept freezing phase
“This significant achievement follows the rapid development of the new gas turbine, which moved from the concept freeze phase to the test phase in less than two years. The turbogenerator system will enable our customers to expand routes that electric flying can support, meaning more passengers will be able to travel further on low or even net-zero emissions aircraft,” said Matheu Parr, Chief Customer Officer, Electricity Division at Rolls -Royce. The turbogenerator system will complement Rolls-Royce’s electric propulsion portfolio by providing an onboard power source with a scalable power output of between 500 kW and 1,200 kW, extending the range of electric-powered aircraft when they become available, by the combustion of hydrogen. This will open up new, longer routes than battery-powered electric planes can support today.
14 subsystems in total
The test facilities and equipment, comprising 14 subsystems in total, were designed, purchased and built – or adapted – by an international team in a record time of just under a year. The test rig includes basic components such as valves and pipes, as well as tailor-made subsystems such as fuel injection systems, oil and ventilation systems, engine mount and water brake, which have been adapted to the specific testing requirements of this new technology. “The turbogenerator can be used in series or parallel hybrid applications. It is ideally suited for recharging batteries and directly providing power to electric propulsion units, allowing aircraft to switch from one power source to the other in flight”, comments Rolls-Royce. The research and development of this technology is partially funded by the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action.