Honeywell Aerospace is working on a turbogenerator for hybrid-electric aircraft and expects to demonstrate it later this year. The propulsion system combines a one-megawatt generator with the company’s existing HGT 1700 auxiliary power unit to operate as a turbogenerator that is two and a half times more powerful than an earlier prototype unveiled by the U.S. company in 2019.
The 280-pound turbogenerator will be able to work in conjunction with high-power electric motors and/or charge batteries. It will run on aviation biofuels, such as Honeywell’s own Green Jet Fuel, as well as conventional jet-A or diesel.
Under a memorandum of understanding signed in December 2020, Honeywell is working with Faradair Aerospace to develop a turbogenerator and other systems for the UK start-up’s Bio-Electric Hybrid Aircraft. The U.S. aerospace group says it is also in advanced discussions with several other companies about applications for a turbogenerator of this size and power capacity.
At the Heli-Expo show in Atlanta in 2019, Honeywell unveiled a smaller turbogenerator for urban air mobility applications. This combined its existing HTS900 turboshaft engine, developed for helicopters, with a pair of 200-kilowatt generators.
In 2020, Honeywell created a division focused on Unmanned Aerial Systems and Urban Air Mobility. “Our turbogenerators provide a safe, lightweight package to serve these burgeoning segments, and we’re designing our solutions to meeting the unique needs of customers developing aerial vehicles of the future,” commented Stephane Fymat, who is vice president and general manager of the division.
The group’s advantage in the advanced air mobility sector is its track record of developing both larger gas turbines and auxiliary power units, according to Taylor Alberstadt, senior director of power systems business development at Honeywell. The group is also looking to supply avionics and operating systems for the new-generation aircraft.
In a bid to advance the use of sustainable aviation fuel, Honeywell has established its UOP Ecofining process, which produces cleaner-burning high-cetane fuel that is chemically identical to petroleum-based diesel. The resulting Honeywell Green Jet Fuel can be blended on a 50:50 basis with petroleum-based jet fuel that can be used in aircraft without modification.