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UK-developed 1MW motor will power hybrid aircraft

19 June, 2023

Collins Aerospace’s UK operation is developing a 1MW motor for use in a hybrid-electric aircraft propulsion system that aims to achieve a 30% improvement in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions compared to today's best regional turboprop aircraft. The 1MW motor will deliver four times the power and twice the voltage of Collins’ most advanced electric motor generators flying today, with half the heat loss and half the weight.

Collins is developing the 1MW motor at its facility in Solihull. It has recently completed a rated power test on a prototype at the University of Nottingham’s Institute for Aerospace Technology.

“With its industry-leading power density and efficiency, our 1MW motor will help to significantly reduce aircraft carbon emissions by supporting hybrid-electric propulsion architectures on the next generation of commercial platforms,” says Henry Brooks, president of Collins’ Power & Controls operation. “As the motor's development continues apace, each milestone brings us one step closer to hybrid-electric flight and our industry's shared commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

The 1MW motor will be combined with a high-efficiency thermal engine developed by Pratt & Whitney – which, like Collins, is owned by Raytheon Technologies (RTX).

Testing of the combined hybrid-electric propulsion system will continue through 2023. The system and batteries will then be integrated into a Dash 8-100 experimental aircraft, with flight trials due to start in 2024. The project is being supported by the Canadian and Quebec governments.

Collins Aerospace has completed power tests on its 1MW prototype motor,

“Hybrid-electric propulsion technology offers significant potential to optimise aircraft efficiency across a range of future aircraft applications and is a key part of our technology roadmap for supporting more sustainable aviation,” says Jean Thomassin, executive director for new products and services at Pratt & Whitney Canada.

As well as the hybrid-electric flight demonstrator, the 1MW motor will also be used in a Pratt & Whitney hybrid-electric powertrain for the Switch (sustainable water-injecting turbofan comprising hybrid-electrics) project which is part of the European Union's Clean Aviation initiative. The project aims to cut aircraft emissions by up to 25% using a novel propulsion concept based on hybrid-electric and water-enhanced turbofan technologies.

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Flight trials of the hybrid-electric propulsion system incorporating the 1MW motor are due start using a modified Dash 8-100 aircraft in 2024



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