Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions, Industrial - July 20, 2022
GE Tests Hybrid Electric Components in Altitude Conditions
GE announced it completed the world’s first test of a megawatt (MW)-class and multi-kilovolt (kV) hybrid electric propulsion system in altitude conditions that simulate single-aisle commercial flight at the Farnborough International Airshow.
The test of the high power, high voltage system, including electric motor/generators, power converters, power transmission, and power control systems, demonstrated performance and operation of the components in a replicated flight environment.
This was an important step in GE’s technology programs with NASA to develop a hybrid electric propulsion system for flight tests later this decade and for entry into service in the mid-2030s.
Hybrid electric propulsion technologies can help reduce fuel usage and CO2 emissions and optimize engine performance.
The altitude integration test of the system began in June 2021 and was completed earlier this year at NASA’s Electric Aircraft Testbed (NEAT) facility in Sandusky, Ohio. To represent the right and left engine side of an aircraft, two sets of a hybrid electric system were operated in conditions up to 45,000 feet, simulating the electrical loads required to help optimize the engines and propel and power an aircraft.
“NASA’s unique NEAT facility is the only testing location capable of simultaneously providing both high-electric power and high-altitude conditions in an area large enough to fit an entire electric powertrain, and we are proud to see this test with GE come to a successful conclusion,” said Bob Pearce, associate administrator for NASA’s Aeronautics Mission Research Directorate in a statement. “With the ground testing completed, we are now well positioned to move to the next phase of our agreement with GE, an actual electric aircraft flight demonstration."
Future tests will continue as part of the Electrified Powertrain Flight Demonstration (EPFD) project that was announced by NASA in September 2021, including testing of the hybrid electric system connected to GE’s CT7 turboprop engines.