Honeywell to Unveil Hybrid-Electric Turbogenerator for Electric Aircraft
Matthew Greenwood posted on February 27, 2019 |

Honeywell will debut its prototype hybrid-electric turbocharger at the HAI Heli-Expo in March. The engine is a showcase for the company’s expanding presence in the urban air mobility market.

The prototype combines Honeywell’s existing, flight-proven Honeywell HTS900 engine with two compact electric generators capable of providing 200 kilowatts together--enough to power 40 homes running the air conditioner on a hot summer day. The engine will burn conventional fuel or biofuel to either feed motors or charge batteries.

The turbocharger promises to be an ideal fit for urban air mobility vehicles. By incorporating multiple motors and batteries into an aircraft, a vehicle could be able to turn certain motors on or off to power vertical or horizontal flight--which could extend the craft’s range and reduce fuel consumption. This technology could enable aircraft designers to create vehicles that would deliver people and goods quietly and efficiently: in fact, several of an aircraft’s electric motors could be powered by a single Honeywell turbocharger.

“This redefines powered flight by providing electricity to spare in a safe, light package built for aviation,” said Bryan Wood, senior director of Honeywell’s hybrid-electric and electric propulsion programs.

Honeywell already has a significant footprint in the aerospace industry, providing systems for airlines, business jets, military and rotary aircraft. But it has been committing more resources to the urban mobility market--a growing aviation industry segment made up of on-demand and automated passenger vehicles and cargo-carrying air transportation services. These services promise to open up new ways of getting people and goods to their destinations while reducing congestion on conventional transportation routes.

Honeywell on urban air mobility

The company offers an extensive suite of technologies to aviation companies developing vehicles for the growing market: avionics, propulsion, flight controls, navigation, collision avoidance, power generation, actuation, logistics, and satellite communication and connectivity technologies.

As an example, Honeywell is partnering with aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel to develop engines and flight systems for eVTOL vehicles that will form Uber’s fleet of air taxis.

With its hybrid turbocharger Honeywell is increasing its commitment to the electric air vehicle sector--enabling aircraft makers to bring more advanced and consumer-ready products to market. “As the urban air mobility segment grows, Honeywell is providing safe, reliable propulsion solutions as well as a host of other aviation technologies that are ready to install today on next-generation vehicles.”

Read more about technological advances in the urban air mobility market at Boeing’s Autonomous Passenger Flying Vehicle Takes Its First Flight.


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