Honeywell Introduces Power Source for Hybrid-Electric Aircraft

Honeywell’s new turbogenerator is designed specifically for hybrid-electric drones, air taxis and commuter aircraft. Honeywell Aerospace

With the increased global focus on green energy and the introduction of a variety of hybrid-electric aircraft, Honeywell Aerospace has announced the development of a turbogenerator that would power electric motors for such products.

The unit is specifically designed to supply the high-powered electric motors and to recharge the batteries of urban mobility aircraft, such as hybrid-electric cargo drones, air taxis, and commuter aircraft. “Our turbogenerators provide a safe, lightweight package to serve these burgeoning segments, and we’re designing our solutions to meet the unique needs of customers developing aerial vehicles of the future,” said Stephane Fymat, vice president and general manager for Unmanned Aerial Systems and Urban Air Mobility at Honeywell.

When combined with Honeywell’s HGT1700 APU, the new turbogenerator would more than double the amount of power output compared with a similar product the company unveiled in 2018, Honeywell says.

Faradair is working with Honeywell to develop turbogenerator and other systems for its Bio Electric Hybrid Aircraft (BEHA). Faradair Aerospace

Honeywell is in discussions with several potential customers for its turbogenerator products and has already signed a memorandum of understanding with Faradair Aerospace—a British company that is developing what it’s calling Bio Electric Hybrid Aircraft (BEHA)—to collaborate on the development of systems and a turbogenerator unit. The BEHA will be propelled by a contra rotating pusher propfan, and it’s designed for firefighting, cargo operations, and commuter airline services, carrying up to 18 passengers. Ground power will be partially supplied by solar power. The company claims the new airplane will solve three major issues within regional travel: noise, emissions and operating costs. Faradair’s goal is to deliver 300 of these BEHA by 2030, a highly ambitious target for an aircraft with such new technologies.

Honeywell is designing the new turbogenerator to run on jet fuel, diesel and biofuel made from sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels. The company expects to start demonstrating the new turbogenerator later this year.

Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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