Under EPFD, GE Aerospace is developing a megawatt-class hybrid electric powertrain for ground and flight tests in the middle of this decade. Boeing and its subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences are partnering with GE Aerospace to support the flight tests using a modified Saab 340B aircraft powered by GE’s CT7 engines.
“GE Aerospace envisions a more electric future of flight. Our research collaborations with NASA continue to advance state-of-the-art propulsion systems with an important aim — to drive industry efforts to improve efficiency and reduce emissions compared to today’s aircraft engines,” said Arjan Hegeman, general manager of advanced technology for GE Aerospace.
GE Aerospace has achieved several technical milestones over the last decade for development of a hybrid electric propulsion system. In 2022, GE Aerospace completed the world’s first test of a MW-class and multi-kilovolt (kV) hybrid electric propulsion system in altitude conditions up to 45,000 feet that simulate single-aisle commercial flight. This test took place at NASA’s Electric Aircraft Testbed. Leading up to last year’s milestone, GE Aerospace had been maturing hybrid electric propulsion systems through a series of increasingly complex steps, including a 2016 ground test.
To meet increased demand for hybrid electric aircraft engine component testing in coming years,
GE Aerospace announced in May 2023 plans to invest up to $20 million to add a new test cell and equipment at the Electrical Power Integrated Systems Center (EPISCenter) in Dayton, Ohio.
Hybrid electric propulsion technologies can help improve engine performance, reducing fuel usage and emissions. More information on how GE Aerospace is innovating to help the aviation industry reach its target of net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, including a link to GE’s 2022 Sustainability Report, is available at www.GEAerospace.com/Future-of-Flight.