Honeywell is developing a new turbogenerator for hybrid-electric aircraft that is two-and-a-half times more powerful than the system revealed by the company in 2019, and will be compatible with sustainable aviation fuel.
Announced this week, the 280-pound (127-kilogram) system combines a 1-Megawatt generator with the Honeywell HGT1700 auxiliary power unit used on Airbus A350 XWB airliners. Honeywell’s previously unveiled design, pitched at the urban air mobility (UAM) market, combined two 200-kilowatt generators with an HTS900 turboshaft engine.
According to Honeywell, its new turbogenerator can be used to operate high-power electric motors or charge batteries and is suitable for a range of platforms, including heavy-lift cargo drones, air taxis, and commuter aircraft. In addition to conventional jet fuel and diesel, it will be able to run on aviation biofuel including Honeywell Green Jet Fuel, which is chemically similar to fossil fuel but made from more sustainable alternatives.
Honeywell aims to demonstrate the turbogenerator system in the third quarter of this year, with ongoing development and qualification to follow.
“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,” stated Stephane Fymat, Honeywell’s vice president and general manager for Unmanned Aerial Systems and UAM, in a press release.
“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.”
Honeywell is collaborating with the British startup Faradair Aerospace on the turbogeneration unit for the latter’s Bio Electric Hybrid Aircraft (BEHA), an 18-seat utility aircraft that will run on sustainable aviation fuel. Faradair aims to deliver an initial portfolio of 300 Faradair-owned BEHAs between 2026 and 2030 for missions including firefighting, passenger and cargo transport, border and fisheries patrol, and drug interdiction.
Honeywell said it is in advanced discussions with several other potential turbogenerator customers, working to help define power requirements based on mission profiles required by various manufacturers.