Honeywell approaches first hybrid power supply application

Honeywell Aerospace plans to announce the launch of the hybrid-electric application for its new 1 MW turbogenerator later this year. In February, the company completed the first round of ground testing of the propulsion system which combines a 1 MW generator with the company’s existing HGT 1700 auxiliary power unit to deliver two and a half times more power than a prototype unveiled in 2019.

“The power and density this will provide could be a game-changer,” said Honeywell vice president and general manager of power systems Dave Shilliday. AIN. The program is part of a substantial investment the US-based group has made in the growing advanced air mobility industry over the past two to three years.

Lilium’s seven-seat eVTOL aircraft will be powered by an all-electric propulsion system supplied by Honeywell and Japanese automotive group Denso. The motors will power the all-electric vehicle’s 30 ducted fan motors installed in the Lilium Jet’s wing and canard.

Each 100 kW motor, weighing just over 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds), incorporates a rotor and stator in a centrifugal or “radial” configuration that differs from traditional axial designs. According to Lilium, the approach reduces component weight, manufacturing costs and susceptibility to foreign object damage.

Lilium’s eVTOL aircraft will have 30 electric motors driving fans installed in the wing and canards. (Image: Lilium)

Although Honeywell has not yet given a clue as to what type of aircraft the 1 MW turbogenerator will power, it is generally assumed that this technology will first enter service with regional airliners, and most likely in part of a conversion package under an additional type. certificate. Longer term, Shilliday sees potential for increased powertrains for new, larger airliners, albeit with incremental progress, which he says “at least dispels the idea that we’re stuck in place until a next-generation narrow body is ready”.

At its Phoenix headquarters, Honeywell has established an Urban Air Mobility Technology Lab, where it is working on several projects based on new avionics and propulsion systems, including concepts such as simplified vehicle operations and hydrogen fuel cells for drones. The company provides fly-by-wire flight controls for the Lilium Jet, and its cloud-connected Anthem avionics will also power this aircraft, as well as the VX4 eVTOL model underway at Vertical Aerospace.

Shilliday said the avionics currently under development for the new all-electric aircraft will be modular and easily adaptable to other platforms, in the same way it offers cockpit systems on models of business jets and airliners. Honeywell engineers have also turned their attention to helping new aircraft manufacturers achieve their ultimate goal of autonomous flight without a pilot on board. “It’s the right goal because what’s going on in air travel right now is madness [in terms of delays and lack of capacity] and about 80% of these problems could be eliminated through automation,” he concluded.

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