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Rolls-Royce Starts Hybrid-Electric Propulsion System Tests

June 7, 2021
Ground testing is underway for the 2.5-MW Power Generation System 1 project, involving an AE2100 turboprop engine, toward the development of electrification for short-haul aircraft.

Rolls-Royce started testing an AE2100 turboprop engine as part of its 2.5-MW Power Generation System 1 project, a program to develop a new, hybrid-electric propulsion system. The evaluation at Rolls’ testbed in Bristol, England, also involves engine control and thermal management systems, with support of a system integration generator.

Rolls noted that the PGS1 is “an important element of our sustainability strategy,” which includes new electrical power and propulsion systems, as well improved gas turbines and promoting use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels.

The eventual generator for the PGS1 system is being developed for use either with a hybrid-electric propulsion system or as part of a “more-electric” system for larger aircraft. A 3,000-V power electronics system also is planned, and both the generator and the power electronics system are being tested at Rolls’ electrical research center in Trondheim, Norway.

“We are bringing together a system that promises to be truly ground-breaking in the world of aviation,” stated Alan Newby, Rolls-Royce’s director for Aerospace Technology and Future Programmes. “Electrification offers a new way to power short-haul aircraft and we want to be at the forefront of pioneering this technology.”

Later this year, a fully operational generator and electronics system will be brought together with the AE2100 engine to begin ground testing of the full PGS1 system.

The ground-tested PGS1 system will provide a technological basis for future hybrid aircraft programs.

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