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P&W Canada to Develop Hybrid-electric Engine

Jul 30,2021

Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) is to develop a hybrid-electric engine and test it on a De Havilland Canada Dash 8-100. The first ground tests are planned for 2022 but the first flight will not happen until 2024, the engine maker announced today. The hybrid-electric propulsion technology and flight demonstrator program are part of a CS $163 million investment that is supported by the governments of Canada and Quebec.

P&WC has a long history with traditional gas turbine engines, including the trusted PT6 that has clocked over 400 million flight hours, and the PW100/150 series that powers the DHC Dash 8s or ATR aircraft. But the future is electric, which is fully recognized by the Canadian government. Part of its ¡®green recovery plan¡¯ is a Strategic Innovation Fund that backs the technology demonstrator and should help put Canada¡¯s aerospace industry at the forefront of global efforts to make aviation more sustainable. The Government of Quebec supports the project through Investissement Qu¨¦bec and the Minist¨¨re de l¡¯Économie et de l¡¯Innovation, as part of an initiative known as, ¡°A¨¦ronef pour la mobilit¨¦ num¨¦rique et verte de demain¡± (Green and Digital Aircraft of Tomorrow).

The hybrid-electric demonstrator will include an electric motor and controller from Collins Aerospace, like P&WC part of Raytheon Technologies. On an artist¡¯s impression from DHC, it will replace the number 2 PW100-engine on the Dash 8-100 which has been provided by De Havilland Canada. The aircraft will be further modified to accommodate the batteries. The cockpit will get interfaces to safely monitor and control the test engine. DHC will conduct the flight test program in direct cooperation with Transport Canada under an experimental flight permit.

New engine should produce 30 percent better fuel consumption

The hybrid-electric demonstrator should produce a thirty percent reduction in fuel burn over the PW100-series. By comparison: General Electric and Safran target a twenty percent fuel burn improvement with their recently announced RISE demonstrator compared to the CFM LEAP.

¡°Pratt & Whitney Canada is proud to be a leader toward ever more sustainable aircraft propulsion technologies and be an integral part of Canada¡¯s green recovery plan,¡± said P&WC President Maria Della Posta in a media statement. ¡°With a long-time commitment to sustainability and as Canada¡¯s top aerospace investor in research and development, having invested CS $500 million annually, we are driving economic growth, innovation, and workforce expertise to benefit the environment. Hybrid-electric technology has an important role to play in enabling the next step-change in efficiency for aircraft engines, and we are uniquely positioned to demonstrate this potential.¡±

P&WC has made the development of hybrid-electric propulsion technology a core element of its strategy to make aviation more sustainable. However, it will also continue to advance its gas turbine engine and adapt them for the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs). The company will continue to work with industry partners globally on a wide variety of projects targeted at increasingly sustainable aviation to benefit our customers and the environment.

Hybrid-electric golden opportunity for DHC

For De Havilland Canada, the hybrid-electric engine could be a golden opportunity to offer a new version of the Dash 8-series. The OEM is in the process of winding down production in Downsview as the lease of the site has been terminated. DHC still hasn¡¯t announced where it will restart the aircraft assembly of the Dash 8, which Longview Aviation Capital took over from Bombardier in May2019. Its backlog is running out and De Havilland would need something different like hybrid-electric propulsion to get itself back on the radar or otherwise risk losing out to ATR and Embraer, which plans to launch an all-new turboprop in 2022.

The latest ¡®all Canada¡¯ initiative must be seen as an opportunity to demonstrate the country¡¯s environmental leadership in the aviation sector, says DHC Chief Transformation Officer, Dave Riggs. For Quebec, which already announced the SAF+ Consortium earlier today, the hybrid-electric demonstrator is a major project that will drive Quebec into the future, said Premier François Legault. ¡°We will develop tomorrow¡¯s helicopters and airplanes today, in Quebec. These aircraft will contribute to the economy while reducing CO2 emissions. The aerospace industry will relaunch with vigor. Your government will be there to reinforce our leadership and ensure a strong future for Quebec¡¯s aerospace industry.¡±

This effort is a follow on and a new chapter in the evolution of what was called Project 804 by UTC. The company produced this video back in 2019.

Since 2012, the China Aerospace Propulsion Technology International Forum (CAPTIF) has been held in Shanghai, Xi'an, Shenyang, Chengdu, Changsha and Guiyang in turn. It has been successfully held for eight sessions, attracting more than 2000 industry experts and representatives from hundreds of enterprises in more than 20 countries around the world. Hunan aviation industry has a long history, it is not only the research and production base of small and medium-sized aero-engines in China, but also the birthplace of the first aero-engine in New China and the first fully independently developed aero-engine. It has created several firsts in the aviation industry in New China. Important member units of China's aero-engine industry have also taken root in the province. On May 2018, AECC disclosed AES100 civil turboshaft engine and AEP500 civil turboprop engine for the first time. In the future, the market prospect of civil turboshaft and turboprop aeroengines in China is broad. It is expected that by 2035, there will be nearly 3000 AES100 engines and nearly 3500 AEP500 engines.

Under this background, the 9th China Aerospace Propulsion Technology International Forum will be held in the Changsha City on the upcoming November, focuses on the "14th Five-Year Plan" and medium and long-term development plan, with the theme of digital and intelligent development of aviation propulsion technology, and focuses on the "safe development and green development", "simulation technology", "advanced test and test technology", "structural strength technology" of small and medium-sized civil aviation turboshafts, turboprops and piston engines "Parts design and manufacturing technology", "new materials, new processes" and "maintenance support" and other related topics, we sincerely invite your participation to contribute to the development of technology in China.Register or get in touch with marketing@galleon.cc for more details.

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