Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) has selected H55 to supply battery systems for its Dash 8-100 regional hybrid-electric flight demonstrator programme. The development of the battery component designs and associated electrical control systems will also be supported by the National Research Council Canada (NRC) and the Innovative Vehicle Institute (IVI).
“We're delighted to draw from H55's technology in the field of aircraft battery systems, and collaborate with NRC and IVI on optimising the design for our hybrid-electric flight demonstrator programme,” says executive director new products and services Jean Thomassin. “Hybrid-electric technology holds significant potential to boost the efficiency of next generation aircraft propulsion systems, allowing us to set new standards for sustainability for regional and commuter aircraft.”
The participation of H55 follows P&WC's July 2021 announcement of its plans to demonstrate hybrid-electric propulsion technology, through a CAD$163 million investment, supported by the governments of Canada and Quebec. Working with Collins Aerospace and De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited, P&WC is targeting a 30 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency and commensurate reduction in CO2 emissions, compared to today's most advanced turboprop engines for regional aircraft. Collins Aerospace will provide the one megawatt electric motor for the hybrid-electric propulsion system.
“Our goal has always been to address regional commuter transportation, and with P&WC there is a perfect fit whereby our core technologies complement each other,” says H55 co-founder and executive chairman André Borschberg. “Both companies share the same vision as to how hybrid-electric propulsion can offer a range of environmental and economic benefits. Selection by P&WC is an important validation that our experience is valued by a reputable industry player. We are excited to be working in Quebec with P&WC and several other industry and research collaborators in bringing our battery pack to the hybrid-electric demonstrator programme.”
As the technological spin off of Solar Impulse, the first electric aircraft to fly around the world, the mission of H55 is to make aviation clean, safe and affordable. The Swiss-based company's core competencies lie in developing propulsion and energy storage solutions that are modular, lightweight and safe. After having worked and flown four electric aircraft, H55 is well placed to act as a key enabler for electrified regional commuter transportation.
As Canada's largest federal research and development organisation, the NRC has a century-long history and track record of contributing to the development of science and innovation in Canada. It will support the development of the high voltage battery sub-systems and their related elements. IVI will also support development work to optimise the design and integration of the battery and control systems on the De Havilland Canada Dash 8-100 experimental aircraft. Ground testing of the propulsion technology will begin in 2022 towards a flight demonstration in 2024.
“We are delighted to support this project as part of our mission to help companies develop and integrate innovative vehicle technologies,” says IVI general manager François Adam. “By enabling future aircraft to achieve greater efficiency and lower emissions, projects like this will contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable transportation industry.”