P&WC plans hybrid-electric propulsion demonstrator
P&WC

P&WC plans hybrid-electric propulsion demonstrator

Governments of Canada and Quebec are supporting development of hybrid technology, with flight testing in 2024.

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Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC), a business unit of Pratt & Whitney, a division of Raytheon Technologies Corp., plans to advance its hybrid-electric propulsion technology and flight demonstrator program as part of a $163M CAD [US$129.5M] investment, supported by the governments of Canada and Quebec.

"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," said Maria Della Posta, president, Pratt & Whitney Canada. "With a long-time commitment to sustainability and as Canada's top aerospace investor in research & development, having invested $500M CAD [US$397.3M] annually, we are driving economic growth, innovation, and workforce expertise to benefit the environment. 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."

The new hybrid-electric propulsion technology will drive significant improvements in aircraft efficiency by optimizing performance across the different phases of flight, allowing the demonstrator to target a 30% reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions, compared to a modern regional turboprop airliner. P&WC is working with De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd. (De Havilland Canada) to integrate this 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, also a Raytheon Technologies business.

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 this 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).

Combining advanced technologies developed by P&WC and Collins, this project is a successor to Project 804, launched in 2019 as a joint development program between the two companies. 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 investments announced today will help the aerospace sector increase its research and development efforts so that innovative, greener, more sustainable aircraft can be built right here in Canada for decades to come, creating good jobs for hard-working Canadians," said the Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.