Rolls-Royce has announced the development of an on-board power source with scalable power offerings, which will complement the company’s electrical propulsion portfolio, it said.
The development of turbogenerator technology, also includes a new small engine designed for hybrid-electric applications. The turbogenerator will recharge batteries after take-off or power propellers directly, enabling the aircraft to switch between power sources in flight.
The company’s turbogenerator technology is aimed at extending routes that electric flight can support and will advance hybrid-electric flight. The research and development of this technology is being part funded by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.
Rob Watson, President, Rolls Royce Electrical, said the company will be the leading provider of all-electric and hybrid-electric power and propulsion systems for advanced air mobility and will scale this technology over time to larger platforms. Watson thanked the German Government for their support.
“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 micro-grid solutions to support fast-charging of electric aircraft and deliver reliable, cost-effective, climate friendly and sustainable power to vertiports,” he said.
Present levels of battery technology for all-electric propulsion allow electric Vertical Take-Off or Landing (eVTOL) and fixed wing commuter aircraft only to undertake short flights in and between cities and island-hopping routes.
Rolls-Royce is scaling up its turbogenerator technology to serve a power range between 500 kW and 1200 kW, thereby opening up longer routes for electric battery powered aircraft. The turbogenerator design work is being undertaken by Rolls-Royce experts based in Germany, Norway and Hungary, tasked with its system integration and focussing on ensuring smart power distribution during flight.