Rolls-Royce is developing turbogenerator technology that could support hybrid-electric aircraft in performing longer-range, higher payload missions than those that use all-electric propulsion systems — a development, says Rolls-Royce, that could unlock new doors for eVTOL companies.
As part of Rolls-Royce’s electrical propulsion product portfolio, the company said it is developing turbogenerator technology, which includes a new small engine designed for hybrid-electric applications. The system will be an on-board power source that can be scaled to serve a power range of between 500 and 1,200 kilowatts. It will be used to either recharge batteries after take-off or power propellers directly, allowing aircraft to switch between power sources in flight.
Rob Watson, president of Rolls-Royce Electrical, said the company is aiming to be the leading provider of all-electric and hybrid-electric power and propulsions systems for the advanced air mobility (AAM) industry.
“As part of our strategy, we are looking at offering the complete sustainable solution for our customers,” Watson said in a press release. “This means extending routes that electric flight can support through our turbogenerator technology. This will advance hybrid-electric flight and mean more passengers will be able to travel further on low to net zero emissions aircraft.”
Watson said Rolls-Royce also plans to build on its existing network and offer maintenance services for electrical systems.
“Furthermore, Rolls-Royce Power Systems is able to offer mtu microgrid solutions to support fast-charging of electric aircraft and deliver reliable, cost-effective, climate friendly and sustainable power to vertiports,” he said.
Earlier this year, the company announced its partnership with Luxaviation Group to provide the charging and energy infrastructure for Luxaviation’s planned vertiport networks. Rolls-Royce had said it would also provide maintenance support services for electric aircraft, and digital solutions for Luxaviation’s vertiports.
The turbogenerator program is being led by Rolls-Royce engineers in Germany, Norway and Hungary, and is partly funded by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.
Last year, Rolls-Royce announced its intention of reaching net zero carbon emissions with all of its new products by 2023, and with all existing products by 2050.