Pratt & Whitney Canada will partner with De Havilland Canada to develop a hybrid-electric propulsion system for regional airliners. The government of Canada has invested about $130 million USD in the project, which will involve De Havilland modifying a legacy Dash-8-100 turboprop regional airliner for the hybrid system. A turbine engine will be mounted in the fuselage to generate power for electric motors on modified nacelles on the wings. P&WC says the system should use about 30 percent less fuel with a corresponding drop in carbon emissions. The aircraft will be ready for ground testing in the next year and should fly in 2024.
“Hybrid-electric technology holds considerable potential to drive the next step-change in efficiency for aircraft engines, while contributing to the development of the industry’s workforce, economic growth and innovation,” said P&WC President Maria Della Posta. De Havilland, which currently manufactures Q400 regional airliners, will explore the scalability of the Pratt system for possible incorporation in its aircraft. “We look forward to collaborating with Pratt & Whitney Canada and governments in Canada to further the development of alternative, climate-friendly aircraft that hold much potential to contribute to more sustainable aviation,” said De Havilland spokesman Dave Riggs.