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Rolls-Royce tests hybrid aero propulsion system.

| 2019

Rolls-Royce successfully tested the hybrid version of the M250 gas turbine in a ground demonstration setting in three operating modes: Series Hybrid, Parallel Hybrid and Turbo-Electric. The tests are part of a hybrid aerospace turbine engine development and integration programme which expects to begin experimental flights on an aircraft in 2021.

Rolls Royce tests hybrid aero propulsion system Rolls-Royce plans to run experimental test flights with the engine installed on aircraft in 2021 (Picture source: Rolls Royce)

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. The system will be used across a range of transport platforms to enable distributed electric propulsion, including eVTOLs (hybrid electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles), general aviation aircraft and hybrid helicopters.

The M250 gas turbine engine has powered more than 170 varieties of fixed-wing military, civilian aircraft and helicopters since its initial development. Rolls-Royce selected this engine for its maturity, power-density, ease of maintenance, and high reliability. In the past half-century, M250 variants have logged more than 250 million flight hours and nearly 33,000 M250 engines have been delivered to customers.

Complete engine testing took place at Rolls-Royce’s state-of-the-art facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, where each component and sub-system of the hybrid engine was individually tested for electrical performance. These tests included simulating use across take-off, cruise, landing and taxiing and confirmed the system’s suitability for a range of transport platforms including aircraft with a range of up to 1,000 miles and weighing up to 2,000 kg.

 “Electrification is one of the most exciting developments in aviation since the birth of the jumbo jet. We are determined to use our pedigree in aerospace to be at the forefront of developing innovative propulsion systems to meet the needs of the next chapter in aviation. When this happens, it’s going to transform the way aero transport is designed and produced, reducing the time required to travel, revolutionizing cargo delivery and changing the way we design our cities and infrastructure.” said Dr. Mike Mekhiche, deputy director of Rolls-Royce Electrical.

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