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Rolls-Royce to Boost Hybrid-Electric Flights With Turbogenerator Technology

The excitement for future air taxi-based urban mobility keeps building up as eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) manufacturers and vertiport developers are working on obtaining certification for future operations. A welcoming sector for both newcomers and established players, hybrid-electric aviation is buzzing with innovative approaches.
Rolls-Royce is developing a turbogenerator technology for electric aircraft 7 photos
Rolls-Royce Turbogenerator TechnologyRolls-Royce Engine SystemRolls-Royce Turbogenerator TechnologyRolls-Royce Turbogenerator TechnologyRolls-RoyceRolls-Royce Turbogenerator Technology
As one of the undeniable leaders of propulsion system development, Rolls-Royce wants to maintain its status in relation to Advanced Air Mobility as well. According to Rob Watson, President of Rolls-Royce Electrical, the brand will supply equally-efficient all-electric or hybrid-electric power systems as its reputable conventional ones.

But, as a true innovator, Rolls-Royce is ready to take things even further than that. In addition to developing power systems for future hybrid or all-electric aircraft, it has recently announced that it will also add turboprop technology to its portfolio. This on-board power source that will be compatible with scalable power systems ranging from 500 kW to 1,200 kW will basically act as a range-enhancer.

As the manufacturer explains, the turbogenerator will recharge either the batteries or the propellers directly. This will allow aircraft to switch between power sources in flight and, as a result, operate on longer routes than what conventional batteries can currently support. This will also help boost hydrogen-electric flights, by increasing the potential range of hydrogen-fueled aircraft. Over time, the plan is to scale this technology for larger airframes.

At the moment, Rolls-Royce is still working on the turbogenerator design and on how to best integrate it within the power system. In addition to its innovative solutions for zero-emissions power, the brand is also providing micro-grid solutions for aircraft fast-charging, as well as sustainable power for future vertiports.

Today, being able to take an air taxi from city to city sounds exciting enough, but we’ll likely want more than that pretty soon. Rolls-Royce is planning ahead for that moment.

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