Rolls Royce has begun testing the hybrid-electric version of the M250 gas turbine helicopter engine.
The British firm is testing the engine in a ground demonstration setting using three operating modes: series hybrid, parallel hybrid and turbo-electric.
The planned propulsion power from the new hybrid engine ranges from 500 kilowatts to 1 megawatt. Once proved to be perfect, its implementation will range from hybrid helicopters, aircrafts and even eVTOLs (electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles).
The engine integrates the regular M250 gas turbine engine with a high energy density battery system. Coupled to these are electric generators and power converters. It also uses advanced power management and control system to optimise overall propulsion performance through efficiency gains, lower emissions and reduced noise.
With the testing taking place at Rolls-Royce’s facility in Indianapolis, the three configurations of the M250 hybrid engine were put to work for takeoff, cruise, landing and taxiing. The configurations included a series hybrid, wherein the engine charges the battery system which in turn provides the power for the thrust, a parallel hybrid using both the systems and a turbo electric mode using the engine only as a turbo generator to power the flight.