Rolls-Royce to produce new turbogenerator for hybrid aircraft



Rolls-Royce has revealed plans to produce a new scalable turbogenerator to serve a power range of 500kW – 1200kW. 

The firm said that current battery technology means all-electric propulsion will enable eVTOL and fixed wing commuter aircraft for short flights only. The turbogenerator technology will open up longer routes that electric battery-powered aircraft can also support.

Development of the turbogenerator design, in particular system integration and smart power distribution during flight, is being undertaken by Rolls-Royce employees in Germany, Norway and Hungary and part-funded by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.

The turbogenerator will recharge batteries after take-off or power propellers directly, enabling aircraft to switch between power sources in flight. 

Rob Watson, president, Rolls Royce Electrical, said: “I would like to thank the German Government for their support. As part of our strategy, we are looking at offering the complete sustainable solution for our customers. 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 added: “Rolls-Royce is also set to build on our existing network to 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.”

Earlier this month, the OEM opened the Berghof solar park in Tengen, southern Germany. The plant has an output of 3.7megawatts and will generate around four million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, saving 1,300t of CO2 a year compared with electricity available through the German grid network.

Rolls-Royce Power Systems chief technology officer and COO, Dr Otto Preiss said:“With our Net Zero at Power Systems program, we are pursuing strict climate protection targets. With ambitious interim targets for 2030, we aim to be completely climate neutral by 2050 across all global sites and areas from production to supply chains to our product portfolio.”