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H55: development of a regional hybrid electric propulsion flight demonstrator

Collins Aerospace is a key technology collaborator in the demonstrator project

Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) has selected H55, the Swiss based company developing electric propulsion and battery systems, to provide the battery pack for the company’s regional hybrid-electric flight demonstrator program.

As the technological spin-off of Solar Impulse, the first electric airplane to fly around the world, the mission of H55, is to make aviation clean, safe, and affordable. The company’s strengths and competencies lie in developing propulsion and energy storage solutions which are modular, lightweight, and certifiable. Having integrated and flown 4 electric airplanes, this announcement is a further illustration of H55’s position as a major enabler in the electric commuter market.

The participation of H55 in the hybrid-electric demonstrator program follows P&WC's July 2021 announced plans of investing $163 CAD million, with the support of the governments of Quebec and Canada, towards developing this sustainable propulsion technology. Collins Aerospace and De Havilland Aircraft of Canada are key technology collaborators in the demonstrator project. The National Research Council Canada (NRC) and the Innovative Vehicle Institute (IVI) are also supporting the development of some of the component designs and electrical control systems for the project.

Hybrid-electric propulsion technology is a core element of Pratt & Whitney’s strategy for continually advancing the efficiency of aircraft propulsion systems, in support of the industry-wide goal of achieving net zero CO2 emissions for aviation by 2050. The company is also developing technologies to support greater use of cleaner, alternative fuels, including Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs) and hydrogen.

Ground testing of the propulsion technology will already start this year, with a planned flight demonstration in 2024.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency