Consortium to advance Hybrid-Electric and Water Enhanced Turbofan technologies

November 30, 2022 |

In France, Airbus said that a group of aerospace technology companies have announced the formation of a collaborative consortium to develop hybrid-electric and water-enhanced turbofan technology for future aircraft propulsion systems, supported by the European Union Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking (Clean Aviation). 

MTU Aero Engines AG (MTU), Pratt & Whitney, Collins Aerospace (Collins), GKN Aerospace, Airbus and others aim to demonstrate the potential of these technologies to improve fuel efficiency and reduce aircraft CO2 emissions by up to 25% compared to today’s state-of-the-art propulsion systems for short- and medium-range aircraft. 

Airbus said that the Sustainable Water-Injecting Turbofan Comprising Hybrid-Electrics (SWITCH) project is focused on developing a novel propulsion concept built from two technologies: Water Enhanced Turbofan (WET) and hybrid-electric propulsion. By combining these technologies with Pratt & Whitney’s GTFTM engine architecture, the SWITCH concept aims to significantly enhance efficiency and substantially reduce emissions across the full operating envelope of an aircraft. Technologies developed as part of SWITCH will be fully compatible with cleaner alternative fuels – such as sustainable aviation fuel — and will be evaluated for future use with hydrogen. 

“This highly impactful SWITCH consortium provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of both WET and hybrid-electric propulsion technologies, not only independently, but as parts of a system,” said Stefan Weber, senior vice president, Engineering and Technology, at MTU. “WET offers considerable potential to boost efficiency and reduce all emissions significantly for future aircraft propulsion systems, whether they are powered by conventional kerosene, SAF, or even hydrogen. Since the concept is gas turbine based, the WET concept fully leverages MTU’s expertise.”

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Category: SAF

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