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Honeywell is Developing a New Clean Energy Turbogenerator

By Kelsey Reichmann | March 9, 2021
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At 280 pounds, the new 1-Megawatt generator being developed by Honeywell weighs about the same as a motor scooter but delivers enough energy to power an entire neighborhood block. (Honeywell)

Honeywell is developing a new turbogenerator that will run on biofuel for hybrid-electric aircraft and is said to be 2.5 times more powerful than their previously developed models, according to a March 8 release. 

"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," Stephane Fymat, vice president and general manager for Unmanned Aerial Systems and Urban Air Mobility at Honeywell Aerospace, said in a press statement. "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."

This new generator being developed by Honeywell will be combined with the company's HGT1700 auxiliary power unit, currently flown on every Airbus A350 XWB, to form a turbogenerator 2.5 times more powerful than the version the company unveiled in 2019. (Honeywell)

The turbogenerator, which has not yet been given an official name, will utilize Honeywell’s 1-Megawatt generator and HGT1700 auxiliary power unit. 

“The turbogenerator will be a fully integrated design which includes the HGT1700 APU power section being integrated to the high-efficiency 1 MW generator through a gearbox designed specifically for this application,” Taylor Alberstadt, senior director of Power Systems Business Development at Honeywell Aerospace, told Avionics International in an email. “The gearbox will drive the turbomachine accessories like the fuel control and lubrication system.”

Alberstadt said the turbogenerator could be used to power a variety of different electric motors or even recharge batteries onboard or on the ground. It will have a max continuous power of 1 megawatt at sea-level standard and its range will vary depending on aircraft. 

In December, Honeywell signed a memorandum of understanding with British startup Faradair Aerospace to collaborate on systems and a turbogeneration unit that will run on sustainable aviation fuel to power Faradair’s Bio Electric Hybrid Aircraft (BEHA). Faradair intends to deliver 300 hybrid-electric BEHAs into service by 2030, of which 150 will be in a firefighting configuration. Honeywell is in advanced discussions with several other potential turbogenerator customers, working to help define power requirements based on mission profiles required by various manufacturers. (Honeywell)

The turbogenerator will run on Faradair Aerospace’s Bio Electric Hybrid Aircraft (BEHA) as part of a December memorandum, according to the release. Honeywell is also looking at using the product on Honeywell aircraft and other customer development programs, Alberstadt said. 

“A turbogenerator is a greener, quieter power source and provides the opportunity to support a distributed electric propulsion architecture being investigated by the majority of VTOL customers which is a safer means of propulsion,” Alberstadt said.

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