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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