Engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney is working on a hybrid electric engine and sees a market for it in India in the regional aviation sector.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC), a business unit of Pratt & Whitney recently announced plans to advance its hybrid-electric propulsion technology and flight demonstrator program supported by the governments of Canada and Quebec.
P&WC is working with De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited (De Havilland Canada) to integrate this hybrid-electric technology into a De Havilland Canada Dash 8-100 flight demonstrator.
“Pratt & Whitney Canada is proud to be a leader toward ever more sustainable aircraft propulsion technologies and be an integral part of Canada’s green recovery plan.”Maria Della Posta, President, Pratt & Whitney Canada
Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC), an organisation designing, manufacturing and servicing aircraft and helicopter engines, will be advancing its hybrid-electric propulsion technology and flight demonstrator programme.
“We see hybrid-electric propulsion systems as one of the key routes to making aircraft of the future even more fuel efficient. We expect that smaller aircraft, including regional airliners, will be the first to benefit from this technology, creating a clear opportunity for India to grow these segments in a sustainable manner.
India has one of the newest and most fuel efficient aircraft fleets in the world, powered by our GTF, V2500, PT6 and PW100 engine families. So India’s aviation sector is superbly positioned to lead a sustainable flying roadmap in the future.
The hybrid-electric propulsion technology would enhance the performance of different phases of flight, and it would allow a 30 per cent reduction in fuel burn and carbon dioxide emissions.”Ashmita Sethi, President and Country Head (India), Pratt & Whitney
P&WC targets ground testing of the technology in 2022 and flight testing of the Dash 8-100 demonstrators in 2024. In India, low-cost carrier SpiceJet is the operator of the de Havilland-8 airplane. It has more than 30 such aircraft in its fleet.
The American aerospace company is also optimistic about its new engine product GTF (Gear Turbofan) advantage engine developed for the A320neo aircraft, a famous aeroplane in India with airlines such as IndiGo and GO FIRST airlines.
The previous generation GTF engine by Pratt & Whitney was launched in 2016 and has powered around 200 aircraft of IndiGo and GO FIRST so far.
“We are also working on a hybrid electric engine, so half the power will come from the battery and half from the engine itself. We will do flight tests in two years and it could be a test flight on the de Havilland-8 airplane which is a normal airplane here. So, finally in the future, can I predict hybrid electric regional jets flying in India? Absolutely!
The new product will enter service in the 2024 time frame and we expect it to last for 10-15 years of service. We expect significant orders for the new version and for the engine. Looking for potential customers in India for other opportunities.
It seems that the Indian aviation industry has adopted some of the rules of ICAO and CORSIA, where starting 2027, 1% of fuel should be SAF, with some costly targets to avoid spending on ticket prices and fuel prices or government regulations. Whether the support can be passed through. Operator or a combination of the three remains to be seen, but it is true, the cost is a challenge.”
Airlines and countries are looking for ways to reduce carbon emissions and although this approach can be costly, stakeholders are inclined to find a way to adapt to sustainability in the aviation sector.
According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), sustainable aviation fuel is any fuel that has the potential to generate fewer carbon emissions than conventional kerosene on a life-cycle basis.
The concept of sustainable aviation fuel among Indian airlines is still in its infancy. So far, a handful of demonstration flights have been done by SpiceJet and IndiGo on blended fuels for low carbon emissions.
IndiGo had additionally taken delivery of an aircraft which ran on sustainable aviation fuel in February 2022. In December’s final 12 months, the airline signed a settlement with the Dehradun-based Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Indian Institute of Petroleum to manufacture and deploy sustainable aviation gas globally.
(With Inputs from Mint)