Rolls-Royce has successfully tested its hybrid version of the M250 gas turbine in a ground demonstration setting in three operating modes.
The M250 gas turbine engine has powered more than 170 varieties of fixed-wing military, civilian aircraft and helicopters since its initial development.
The tests are part of one of the sectors’ most comprehensive hybrid aerospace turbine engine development and integration programmes and pave the way for experimental flights on aircraft in 2021.
The company said: “Rolls-Royce selected this engine for its maturity, power-density, ease of maintenance, and high reliability. In the past half-century, M250 variants have logged more than 250 million flight hours and nearly 33,000 M250 engines have been delivered to customers.”
The M250 hybrid is planned to be used as a propulsion plant with power ranging from 500kW to 1MW and has the potential to transform aviation power.
The system will be used across a range of transport platforms to enable distributed electric propulsion, including EVTOLs, general aviation aircraft and hybrid helicopters.
Dr Mike Mekhiche, deputy director, Rolls-Royce Electrical said: “Rolls-Royce has always been a pioneer in aviation and one of the key elements of our strategy is to champion electrification across all our businesses. The successful testing of the hybrid M250 system is an important step forward in providing a hybrid-electric propulsion system that will enable a new class of quieter and cleaner air transport.”
The engine was tested in three modes which included Series Hybrid, Parallel Hybrid and Turbo-Electric.
These tests included simulating use across take-off, cruise, landing and taxiing and confirmed the system’s suitability for a range of transport platforms including aircraft with a range of up to 1000 miles and weighing up to 2000kg.
This would support the Rolls-Royce EVTOL concept which was unveiled during the Farnborough Air Show in the UK last year as well as meeting many other customers’ requirements.
Mekhiche added: “We are determined to use our pedigree in aerospace to be at the forefront of developing innovative propulsion systems to meet the needs of the next chapter in aviation.
“When this happens, it’s going to transform the way aero transport is designed and produced, reducing the time required to travel, revolutionising cargo delivery and changing the way we design our cities and infrastructure.”