Generator For 2.5-Megawatt PGS1 Delivered To Rolls-Royce Test Facility


The generator for the Rolls-Royce 2.5-megawatt Power Generation System 1 (PGS1) demonstrator program has arrived at the company’s newly renovated Testbed 108 in Bristol, U.K. The company says uses for the generator could include hybrid-electric propulsion systems for future regional aircraft along with “more-electric” systems for larger aircraft. It is also considering possible ground or marine applications.

“Our generator is about the size of a beer keg but it needs to produce enough electricity to continuously power around 2,500 homes—that is breaking new ground in terms of what is physically possible,” said Rolls-Royce Aviation Futures chief design engineer Adam Newman. “On completion of testing, we will have a basis for megawatt-level power for future hybrid aircraft.”

The generator was delivered to Testbed 108 following the completion of a development test program conducted at the Rolls-Royce facility in Trondheim, Norway. Rolls-Royce has already tested the AE2100 engine element, specialist controls and thermal management system for PGS1. Generator development and testing in Trondheim was supported by the EU Clean Sky 2 program.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. I still have doubts related to the energy conversion efficiency and weight considerations inherent in the hybrid regional transport aircraft concept, and will that screaming C-130 turbine engine/generator or it’s progeny end up in the fuselage with the passengers? Still, a lot of money and the efforts of some smart people are certainly being thrown at it. I guess we shall see.

  2. The hybrid system for locomotives use a 10,000 Hp diesel per engine car to turn the alternator. The train rails can handle the weight. It is possible to build large generating power systems, but the efficiency per pound goes down exponentially when the size goes up. When you go the other direction, the concept becomes more realistic say for LSA in aviation. This is why jet power was the best solution for the jet set in the beginning, but at the expense of our planet.
    The best solution is to always evaluate just how important is your mission to always use commercial air travel. What we think we needed over the years has come at a great price when you factor in climate damage. It will still require huge jet engines to produce megawatts. Pound for pound, From our experience, I can assure you that it will take more fuel than going with jet power alone.

  3. Weight will certainly be an issue. Those cables look heavy. Their weight might constrain the distance to the motors. Higher system voltages lighten the cables but may compromise the motor designs. Compromises and finding optimal solutions, that’s what engineers are for.

  4. Once I’ve seen and done all the things I want to see and do, and my body is dead and buried, I will cease to use commercial air travel.

  5. Airplanes demand high power settings for all but the very last phase of the flight. Basically think of it as “highway mpg” on a hybrid car at high power and high wind resistance. The real trick is getting BOTH a jet engine and an electric AC/DC conversion system to have a combined efficiency greater than a single system.

  6. Almost like full throttle mpg as opposed to highway mpg on a hybrid car. Top Gear tested a Prius against an M3 about 10 years ago on a racetrack (just for fun) and the BMW returned higher mpg.