Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) has announced plans to advance its hybrid-electric propulsion technology and flight demonstrator programme as part of a $163M CAD investment, supported by the governments of Canada and Quebec.

The new hybrid-electric propulsion technology will drive significant improvements in aircraft
efficiency by optimising performance across the different phases of flight, allowing the demonstrator to target a 30 per cent reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions, compared to a modern regional turboprop airliner.

P&WC president Maria Della Posta said: “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. With a long-time commitment to sustainability and as Canada’s top aerospace investor in research & development, having invested $500M CAD annually, we are driving economic growth, innovation and workforce expertise to benefit the environment.”

Hybrid-electric technology enables step change in efficiency

She added: “Hybrid-electric technology has an important role to play in enabling the next step-change in efficiency for aircraft engines, and we are uniquely positioned to demonstrate this potential.”

P&WC is working with De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd to integrate hybrid-electric technology into a De Havilland Canada Dash 8-100 flight demonstrator. This demonstrator will include an advanced electric motor and controller from Collins Aerospace.

As part of Canada’s green recovery plan, the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund is backing the technology demonstrator, which will help put Canada’s aerospace industry at the forefront of global efforts to make aviation more sustainable. The Government of Quebec is supporting the project through Investissement Québec and the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation, as part of an initiative known as, “Aéronef pour la mobilité numérique et verte de demain” (Green and Digital Aircraft of Tomorrow).

The new project is a successor to Project 804, which also combined advanced technologies developed by P&WC and Collins, The project launched in 2019 as a joint development programme between the two companies and provides a foundation for the new demonstrator programme to build upon.

Ground test targeted for 2022

P&WC will target ground testing in 2022, leading to flight testing of the Dash 8-100 demonstrator in 2024. Developing hybrid-electric propulsion technology is a core element of Pratt & Whitney’s strategy to make aviation more sustainable. The company is also committed to continually advancing the efficiency of gas turbine engines across its portfolio, while supporting the wider use of sustainable aviation fuels, and pursuing alternative fuels. All these elements will be critical for the aviation industry to meet its goals to significantly reduce CO2 emissions by 2050. The company will continue to work with industry partners globally on a wide variety of projects targeted at increasingly sustainable aviation to benefit our customers and the environment.

“Canada has an opportunity to demonstrate environmental leadership in the aviation sector,” said Dave Riggs, Chief Transformation Officer, De Havilland Canada. “De Havilland Canada has a legacy of
innovation that has supported aviation in Canada and around the world for more than 90 years and we are immensely proud to be the first manufacturer of regional aircraft supporting the development of hybrid#electric propulsion technology. We look forward to collaborating with Pratt & Whitney Canada and governments in Canada to further the development of alternative, climate-friendly technology that holds much potential to contribute to more sustainable aviation.”

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