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February 4, 2022

GE Aviation and Boeing join forces on hybrid electric flight project

Ground and flight tests are projected to be conducted in the mid-2020s.

GE Aviation has partnered with Boeing to support flight tests of its hybrid electric propulsion system involving a modified Saab 340B aircraft and CT7-9B turboprop engines.

GE Aviation will receive aeroplane modification, system integration and flight-testing services from Boeing and its subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences.

Under this project, nacelle manufacturing, flight deck interface design and software, aircraft-level performance analysis and systems integration will also take place.

Earlier, NASA and GE Aviation had formed a new research partnership to mature a megawatt (MW) class hybrid electric propulsion system for showcasing flight readiness for single-aisle aircraft.

Ground and flight tests are expected to be conducted in the mid-2020s.

This programme has been developed under NASA’s Electrified Powertrain Flight Demonstration (EPFD) project.

This project received an investment of $260m from NASA, GE Aviation , Boeing and other partners during the course of five years.

GE Aviation engineering vice-president and general manager Mohamed Ali said: “We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Boeing to advance hybrid electric and electric propulsion systems.

“NASA’s Electrified Powertrain Flight Demonstration project is an opportunity for GE Aviation and Boeing, world leaders in aviation technologies, to show hybrid electric propulsion is real and possible for the future of commercial flight to reduce carbon emissions.”

Nacelle manufacturing will be carried out in Aurora’s facilities in Mississippi and West Virginia while aircraft systems engineering and testing work will take place at its headquarters in Manassas.

According to GE Aviation , its electrification technologies are ‘highly compatible’ with sustainable aviation fuel, hydrogen and advanced engine architectures.

Hybrid electric propulsion technologies are expected to save fuel and improve engine performance.

This will enable the aviation sector to attain its goal of net-zero CO₂ emissions from flight by 2050.

In August last year, GE Aviation revealed plans to move to a larger facility at Brisbane Airport (BNE) in Australia.

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