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Honeywell updates hybrid-electric power source plans


March 9, 2021
Wings Staff

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The Honeywell 1-Megawatt generator will be combined with the HGT1700 auxiliary power unit, currently flown on every Airbus A350 XWB, to form a turbogenerator 2.5 times more powerful than the version the company unveiled in 2019. (Photo: Honeywell)

Honeywell on March 8 announced it is developing a power source for hybrid-electric aircraft, planned for demonstration later this year. The company states its Honeywell 1-Megawatt generator, at 280 pounds, weighs about the same as a motor scooter but delivers enough energy to power an entire neighborhood block.

This generator will be combined with the Honeywell HGT1700 auxiliary power unit, currently flown on every Airbus A350 XWB, explains the company, to form a turbogenerator 2.5 times more powerful than the version the company unveiled in 2019.

The new turbogenerator from Honeywell will be able to run on aviation biofuel, including Honeywell Green Jet Fuel and conventional jet fuel and diesel. Honeywell states its turbogenerator can be used to operate high-power electric motors or charge batteries and can satisfy missions from heavy-lift cargo drones to air taxis, or commuter aircraft. Honeywell expects to present the first demonstration of this turbogenerator system will occur in the third quarter of 2021.

“There is an inherent need for electric and hybrid-electric power as the urban air mobility segment takes shape and unmanned aerial vehicles enter service,” said Stephane Fymat, vice president and general manager for Unmanned Aerial Systems and Urban Air Mobility at Honeywell Aerospace. “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.”

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In December 2020, Honeywell signed a memorandum of understanding with British startup Faradair Aerospace to collaborate on systems and a turbogeneration unit that will run on sustainable aviation fuel to power Faradair’s Bio Electric Hybrid Aircraft (BEHA). Faradair intends to deliver 300 hybrid-electric BEHAs into service by 2030, of which 150 will be in a firefighting configuration.

Honeywell unveiled its first turbogenerator for urban air mobility (UAM) at the 2019 HAI HELI-EXPO in Atlanta. It combined Honeywell’s HTS900 turboshaft engine with two 200-kilowatt generators.