Rolls-Royce, a brand synonymous with elegance, exclusivity, and exorbitant prices, has a rich history dating back over a century. The company’s aerospace division, which has operated independently since 1973, is no exception.
- Rolls-Royce’s microreactor is a new dimension in propulsion
- Rolls-Royce’s first hydrogen-powered aircraft engine launched
- Rolls-Royce Hungary develops power system for hybrid-electric aircraft
The Decade’s Defining Challenge: Zero Carbon Emissions
As the world faces the critical task of achieving zero carbon emissions, the aerospace industry is diligently searching for solutions. Rolls-Royce has taken a multifaceted approach, focusing on hybrid and all-electric aircraft, as well as exploring sustainable alternatives to kerosene, such as hydrogen-based fuels and their derivatives.
Powering the Future: Charging High-Capacity Batteries
Developing hybrid and all-electric aircraft is only part of the equation. Rolls-Royce is also investigating how to charge the high-capacity batteries that will be required for widespread adoption of these aircraft. Numerous potential solutions are being considered, including battery replacement, but the long-term sustainability of these options remains uncertain.
A New Frontier: Electric Systems in Aviation
According to industry experts, sustainable all-electric and hybrid-electric aircraft could become commercially available as early as 2030. However, this requires the development and optimization of supply chains, a challenging endeavor given the stringent regulatory environment in the aerospace sector. Manufacturers may be hesitant to invest the necessary resources to enter this emerging market.
Rolls-Royce’s Remarkable Achievements
Breaking Records: The World’s Fastest Electric Vehicle
Rolls-Royce provided the ACCEL engine that powered the world’s fastest electric vehicle, reaching a speed of 623 kilometers per hour. The company also oversaw the vehicle’s airworthiness and provided the chief pilot for the record-breaking flight.
Pioneering Partnerships: H3PS Aircraft and City Airbus
In 2021, the H3PS aircraft, powered by a parallel hybrid-electric propulsion system, took to the skies as a result of a collaboration between Tecnam, Rotax, and Rolls-Royce. That same year, flight tests were completed for the City Airbus, an innovative regional and urban air transport solution, featuring a propulsion system developed by Rolls-Royce engineers.
New Horizons: Turbo-Generator Development and Vertical Aerospace Collaboration
In 2022, Rolls-Royce Hungary announced a turbo-generator development project aimed at creating a new generation of small gas turbines, electric generators, and power conversion units for hybrid-electric aircraft propulsion systems. This technology complements Rolls-Royce’s existing electric propulsion portfolio, enabling greater range with sustainable fuels, including hydrogen.
In partnership with Vertical Aerospace, the Hungarian team is designing an electric power distribution system, energy storage system, engine, generator, and inverter for a cutting-edge air taxi, poised to transform the urban air transport market in the coming years.
Revolutionizing Regional Air Transport: A Fully Electric Passenger Aircraft
Working alongside Tecnam and Widerøe airline, Rolls-Royce Hungary is contributing to the development of a fully electric passenger aircraft, set to revolutionize the regional air transport market. The Hungarian team’s primary focus is the development of electric components for this groundbreaking project.