First run of Safran’s hybrid electric turboprop demonstrator


A Safran engineers works on the TP Tech hybrid-electric demonstrator. (credit: Adrien Daste/Safran)

Safran Helicopter Engines has successfully completed ground tests of its new, “more electric” Tech TP turboprop engine.

The Ardiden 3-based technological demonstrator incorporates technologies from the Clean Sky1 ACHIEVE project. ACHIEVE (Advanced mechatronics devices for a novel turboprop electric starter-generator and health monitoring system) is a Clean Sky project coordinated by the UK University of Nottingham. Within this project, a more powerful electrical motor-generator has been developed and integrated in the Tech TP propeller and accessory gearbox (PAGB).

Didier Nicoud, Safran Helicopter Engines, executive vice president, Engineering, said: “Leveraging hybrid electric technologies is an important pillar in our strategy to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions. ACHIEVE Tech TP also paves the way for a new Clean Aviation demonstrator managed by the HE-ART (Hybrid-Electric propulsion system for regional AiRcrafT) consortium.”

By 2025 HE-ART, bringing together 38 partners with Safran Helicopter Engines as technical coordinator, plans to ground test a hybrid electric propulsion engine intended for regional turboprop aircraft.

The Tech TP demonstrator provides electrical drive to the propeller, enabling new operating modes such as taxying without using power directly from the main turbine engines or in-flight electric assistance. These modes save fuel and reduce noise and emissions.

Tech TP is a technology demonstrator developed as part of the European Clean Sky 2 research programme. According to Piaggio Aerospace, who tested it on a virtual 19-seater commuter installation, features 18% lower fuel consumption and Co2 emissions compared to similar engines currently in service.

The turboprop is designed for operations at medium and high altitudes — around 45,000ft — and will be “easy to operate”, thanks to an innovative throttle lever interfaced with a Full-Authority Digital Engine and Propeller Control (FADEPC) computer.