UK-based industrial technology group Rolls-Royce announced late last week that the generator and associated power electronics for the aerospace world’s most powerful hybrid-electric aircraft power and propulsion system had been delivered to its recently renovated Testbed 108 in Bristol in the UK. The generator was developed at Rolls-Royce’s Trondheim facility in Norway and was subject to a thorough development test programme before being shipped to Bristol.
The generator will form the heart of the 2.5 MW Power Generation System 1 (PGS1) technology demonstrator programme. The engine element of PGS1 is a Rolls-Royce North America AE2100 turboprop, and the engine selected for use in the demonstrator, plus its thermal management system and specialist controls, has already been tested at Testbed 108.
“We are excited to bring the generator to our new testbed and start fully integrating PGS1,” enthused Rolls-Royce Aviation Futures chief design engineer Adam Newman. “This is a key milestone in the programme, bringing together the work of teams in the UK and Norway who have worked so hard to get us to this point. It is a great privilege to be involved in such important work – developing innovative electrical power systems is part of our sustainability strategy for the future.”
The aim is to develop a hybrid-electric system that will power future regional aircraft. However, it could also be part of ‘more-electric’ power systems in larger aircraft, as well as having future marine and terrestrial applications.
“Our generator is about the size of a beer keg but it needs to produce enough electricity to continuously power around 2 500 homes – that is breaking new ground in terms of what is physically possible,” he highlighted. “On completion of testing, we will have the basis for megawatt-level power for future hybrid aircraft.”
The UK Aerospace Technology Institute (a public private partnership) has supported both the renovation of Testbed 108 and the PGS1 programme, under its MegaFlight project. The design, assembly and testing in Trondheim of the electrical generator, motor and associated power electronics has been supported by the European Union’s Clean Sky 2 programme.