Tech TP Hybrid Electric Powertrain Ground Tests for Regional Airliners

Tech TP Hybrid Electric Powertrain Ground Tests for Regional Airliners
Courtesy Safran

This week, Safran's Tech TP turboprop technology demonstrator completed ground tests. Using the Ardiden-3 family of turboshaft engines for super-midsize rotorcraft, the project explores new propulsion options for future regional fixed-wing aircraft.

Ground testing is being conducted at Safran's Tarnos site in France as part of the European Union's Clean Sky program. In addition, Safran's TP Tech engine incorporates technologies from the Achieve project, which focuses on "advanced mechatronic devices for a novel turboprop electric starter-generator and health monitoring system."

A more powerful electrical motor generator is integrated with the Tech TP propeller and accessory gearbox in the technology demonstrator, according to the company. It consists of an electric motor, an electronic power converter, and associated controllers.

Electric propellers can enable new modes of operation, such as taxiing and in-flight auxiliary power, without using the aircraft's main turbine engines directly. CO2 emissions and fuel consumption are expected to be reduced by 18 percent.

Piaggio Aerospace analyzed a 19-seat commuter airliner virtual testbed to forecast the performance of the TP Tech engine. It will be controlled by a digital engine and propeller control computer integrated with an updated throttle lever design.

Didier Nicoud, executive vice president of engineering at Safran Helicopter Engines, said that hybrid-electric technologies are an important part of the company's strategy to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions. HEART [Hybrid-Electric propulsion system for regional aircraft] consortium will manage the new Clean Aviation demonstrator managed by Achieve Tech TP. A hybrid electric propulsion system intended for regional turboprop aircraft will be ground tested by HEART by 2025, a project involving 38 partners and coordinated by Safran Helicopter Engines.

University of Nottingham is coordinating Achieve, which is supported by Nema and Power System Technology. Over 20 partners are involved in the project.

Electric propulsion systems are being developed by the Electrical & Power division of Safran for several other new aircraft applications. Aura Aero Electric Regional Aircraft, VoltAero Cassio and TCab Tech eVTOL are just a few examples.

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