Honeywell To Debut Hybrid-electric Engine at Heli-Expo

 - February 19, 2019, 10:28 AM
Honeywell's first offering in the hybrid-electric space is this HTS900 gas turbine engine equipped with two 200-kilowatt electric generators attached to the gearbox. (Photo: Honeywell Aerospace)

Honeywell Aerospace’s hybrid-electric turbogenerator that will power the first generation of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft will make its public debut early next month at Heli-Expo, the Phoenix-based company announced today. The hybrid powerplant is an electrified version of its 1,100-shp HTS900 gas turbine engine used on Kopter’s SH09 light turbine helicopter and Eagle Copters’ Eagle 407HP conversion. 

“In regards to urban air mobility, that’s really the sweet spot [for shaft horsepower],” Bryan Wood, who runs the hybrid propulsion division for Honeywell Aerospace’s engines and power systems group, told AIN. “This is an engine that we’ve decided to highlight. It has a very competitive power density and specific fuel consumption.”

A gearbox mounted to the HTS900 drives a pair of 200-kilowatt generators, Wood said. “We’re actually able to produce power from the engine, which then feeds into the generators, which will then downstream spin motors,” he said. The generators’ output is enough to power 40 average American homes running air conditioners at their highest setting, Honeywell said.

In tandem with batteries, the hybrid will produce 30 to 50 percent fewer carbon emissions than the traditional HTS900 engine. XTI’s TriFan 600 is the first airframe where the turbogenerator will be used, though Wood added there are “other customers as well that we’re very engaged in conversation with” about using it.