Roll-Royce's hybrid-electric propulsion system passes 1-MW milestone
With a view to providing clean powertrains for future aircraft, Roll-Royce is developing a 2.5-megawatt hybrid-electric propulsion system, billed as the most powerful of its kind. Engineers began putting it through its paces a few weeks ago, and are already celebrating a notable milestone, with the system delivering more than a megawatt of power for the first time.
Rolls-Royce's demonstrator Power Generation System 1 (PGS1) is designed as a versatile solution for next-generation aircraft, designed primarily with hybrid planes in mind but with a generator than can be adapted for those relying more heavily on electric systems. The PGS1 includes a thermal management system, purpose-made controls, a keg-sized generator and an AE2100 turbo-shaft engine to turn it.
Back in July, it was delivered to the recently renovated Testbed 108 facility in Bristol, UK, where engineers are now working toward the grand ambition of using it to deliver 2.5 megawatts. In a matter of weeks since testing began, the team has taken some impressive strides, now passing the one-megawatt milestone.
“We’ve made a tremendous start to testing – reaching a megawatt is a great achievement," says Adam Newman, Chief Project Engineer. "Now we want to go further and see what we can ultimately achieve. 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.”