Rolls Royce, the aviation engine behemoth has announced the development of a hybrid propulsion system for civil aviation. This propulsion pack is based on the M250 Gas Turbine which has powered more than 170 varieties of aircraft, both rotary and fixed wing. These engines have been used for both military as well as civilian applications.
The M250 engine was selected by Rolls Royce for this project because of its maturity, power-density, ease of maintenance, and high reliability. The company has supplied more than 33,000 engines to the aviation sector till now. The hybrid propulsion in development has been developed by Rolls Royce engineers based in United States, UK, Germany, Norway and Singapore . The system comprises an M250 gas turbine in combination with a high energy density battery system, electric generators, power converters and an advanced power management and control system.
The propulsion package is being developed with APUS, an aviation engineering company based in Strausberg and academia, ie, the Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU), Cottbus. This propulsion pack would be tested on a conventional take and landing aircraft in the 4,000 kg category. The fuselage for the project is being provided by APUS and is the APUS i-5 aircraft. However, the propulsion plant is going to be versatile. It can be used across various transport platforms to enable distributed electric propulsion. These platforms include EVTOL’s (hybrid electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles), general aviation aircraft and hybrid helicopters in the future.
The project is being supported by the Brandenburg Government under the regional programme to develop research, innovation and technology (ProFIT), managed by the Investment Bank of the State of Brandenburg (ILB). The first flight of the aircraft is expected after 2021.
Meanwhile, Rolls Royce is also developing another hybrid propulsion system, the AE 2100 2.5 MW system which is being developed with Airbus for larger aircraft including regional aviation. It is being tested on the Airbus E-Fan-X demonstrator platform.
Rob Watson, Director of Rolls-Royce Electrical said, “We have already ground tested the hybrid version of the M250 gas turbine in a demonstration setting in Series Hybrid, Parallel Hybrid and Turbo-Electric operating modes. The M250 hybrid is planned to be used as a propulsion plant with power ranging from 500kW to 1MW and has the potential to transform aviation power. Rolls-Royce has pioneered every significant development of the aviation industry and it is only natural that we play our part in this exciting next step of electrification.”