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Safran details distributed propulsion system progress

26th July 2018 - 14:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Safran has carried out the first ground test of a distributed propulsion system at its Helicopter Engines test facility near Pau-Pyrenees Airport, France.

For its programme to develop a hybrid electric propulsion solution for aircraft, a turbo-generator (a gas turbine driving an electrical generator) is coupled to a bank of batteries. This system powers multiple electric motors turning propellers to provide propulsion. The power is efficiently distributed by a new-generation power management system, and the motors are controlled by a fully-integrated smart power electronics assembly.

Several operating modes were tested and validated during this first series of tests, with the electric motors powered only by batteries or a combination of batteries and turbo-generator. The system generated 100kW of electrical power.

Safran expects hybrid propulsion systems to contribute to the emergence of new vertical take-off and landing and short take-off and landing aircraft, by enhancing their flight capabilities and expanding their range of missions. The company’s roadmap aims to bring these technologies to the market by 2025.

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