DAYTONA BEACH, Florida — International aircraft manufacturing leaders have teamed with aerospace, aviation and research institute Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to design a hybrid-electric turboprop aircraft.
Led by the university’s Eagle Flight Research Center (EFRC) at its Daytona Beach campus, and in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory, the Embry-Riddle Hybrid Consortium is working with members Airbus, Boeing, GE Aviation, Textron, Rolls-Royce, Hartzell, Cape Air, and others to explore the design space for turbine/electric aircraft propulsion systems that reduce noise, emissions and operating costs.
The goal is to produce a commercially viable, nine-passenger hybrid turboprop by 2025, and a large hybrid-electric jet by 2035.
“The confluence of modern controls, batteries and the overhaul of the regulatory landscape make this the right time to design the air vehicles of the future,” said EFRC Director and Professor of Aerospace Engineering Dr. Richard “Pat” Anderson, who is the founder and lead for the consortium.The three-phase, multi-year project aims to produce a prototype 600 SHP turboprop engine. Utilizing battery packs as the power source, the design will address weight concerns and technology needs.
Having completed Phase I — the conceptual design of clean-sheet hybrid turboprop airframes and propulsion systems — the consortium is now in Phase II, which includes designing the motor, battery packs and battery management systems.
Phase III is completing a design of the prototype engine and associate systems, increasing ground test facility capabilities, manufacturing and testing the prototype motor.
Initial seed money for the consortium has been provided by the university and partner companies. Federal funding and additional collaborators are being sought for advanced research and support, officials noted.
“Airplanes have looked fundamentally the same for the past 115 years,” Anderson said. “This consortium is a catalyst to move aviation – and the entire transportation – industry from the old paradigm into a new and excitingly different design space.”