3 Ways Honeywell's Hybrid-Electric Turbogenerator Brings Efficiency to Urban Air Mobility

April 2, 2019 | Author: Chris Hawley

Urban air mobility describes a world of drones, personal flying vehicles and on-demand air travel that is just beginning to take shape. Many UAM aircraft designs incorporate multiple electric motors that can be tilted or turned off for vertical takeoff and horizontal flight. These designs aim to provide a new kind of quiet, efficient, point-to-point aviation needed to navigate the world’s cities.

Honeywell is developing power systems for these new aircraft, including a hybrid-electric turbogenerator that combines the HTS900 turbine engine with two 200-kilovolt generators. Here are three ways this technology makes UAM aircraft better than a traditional helicopter: 


Turbogenerator-powered aircraft designs promise to be quieter than traditional helicopters because they use multiple electric motors connected to smaller fans or propellers, rather than a single large rotor.


Most hybrid-electric urban air vehicle designs incorporate plenty of backups – they have multiple motors driving several fans, and most include on-board batteries in addition to the turbogenerator. The goal is to be able to land safely if a component fails. Traditional helicopters, meanwhile, have only one main rotor, and often only one engine.


The HTS900 engine is known for its low specific fuel consumption, which refers to the rate at which the engine burns fuel each hour at specific rates of thrust. Adding the two generators to the engine makes flight cleaner and more fuel efficient, with 30% to 50% fewer carbon emissions than a traditional engine.The turboshaft engine helps further minimize fuel usage with its lightweight design.


Honeywell is already a leading provider of on-board aircraft power, with systems on thousands of airliners, business jets and military and rotary aircraft worldwide. The new turbogenerator takes that flight-proven expertise and applies it to propulsion, enabling a new era of efficient and safe electric flight.

Learn more these technologies on our urban air mobility and hybrid-electric propulsion web pages. 

Chris Hawley

Chris Hawley

Chris Hawley is the director of marketing for the Americas for Honeywell Aerospace, connecting customers with the company’s products for airliners, business jets, military aircraft, commercial helicopters and spacecraft. He also holds a commercial pilot license.

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  • Nige Austin

    Waiting in anticipation to see which VTOL developer adopts the HTS900 engine and puts it into service first. With range and flight time being the biggest issues for pure EV, the Hybrid-Electric Turbogenerator is a speed path to market for many systems which will not be commercially viable based on EV 15 minute flight times. It will be really interesting to see the propulsion types and configurations which achieve optimum performance for this new engine. There's sure to be a lot of R&D and testing to fine tune these systems over the course of the next decade. Great work!

  • Tony Rose

    Hello Chris, Do you know where the development work is taking place for hybrid turbo electric generator? Thanks, Tony Rose/Ametek

  • Kevin Carman

    Brilliant engineering and a wise investment in resources to make such turbines. This type of turbo-generator has much more potential than just rotorcraft. This would fit very well in myriad applications. Utilizing a turbine that constantly runs at ideal performance will lead to very highly efficient aircraft and land based machinery when matched to electric propelled, drive-by-wire / fly-by-wire systems. It definitely would apply well to rotorcraft, as I already envision superior flying craft that exploit the strengths of such a powerplant. With far greater fuel efficiency than conventional turbine helicopters and much improved safety, mobility, and sheer speed. Can you imagine a 350 knot VTOL craft that can safely land in an intersection or yard, while spooling up from a dead start in a small fraction of the time of a conventional turbine helicopter? This would save many lives and save many dollars! So many possibilities...


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