'The future of flight is more electric.' GE Aerospace, NASA and Boeing announce next steps in developing a hybrid electric engine
GE is investing another $20 million at the EPISCenter in Dayton to build its seventh test cell for hybrid electric aircraft engine testing
GE Aerospace announced Wednesday, it’s investing an additional $20 million at the company’s Dayton EPISCenter (Electrical Power Integrated Systems Center) to support hybrid electric aircraft engine development.
“The future is coming now and us taking hybrid electric to the skies is a reality not just in the next decade but very, very soon,” says Christine Andrews, hybrid electric systems leader at GE Aerospace.
GE will build its seventh test cell at EPISCenter to meet increased demand for testing.
“The future of flight is more electric. GE Aerospace has been developing the building blocks for hybrid electric engine technologies for years, combining our world-class propulsion engineering, electrical power generation, and electrical power system management experience. Our new investment in EPISCenter to support hybrid electric engine testing affirms our commitment to the development of game-changing technologies for the aviation industry,” said Mohamed Ali, vice president of engineering for GE Aerospace.
Ali says electric cars are common now, but in this GE article he points out building a commercial electric plane is a much different story. “Electric motors behave very differently at altitudes above 10,000 feet. They are susceptible to plasma arcing, for example, and much more difficult to manage.”
That’s where the testing comes in. “I do think the adding of the test cell also shows just how much testing goes into any advanced concept before it goes with any human flying on it. That’s in the adjacency space as well as our own testing before we go into the reliability and the safety factor,” says Andrews.
GE Aerospace is partnering with NASA and Boeing to develop hybrid electric propulsion.
- 2022-Completion of the world’s first test of a MW-class and multi-kilovolt 9kV hybrid electric propulsion system in altitude conditions up to 45,000 feet simulating single-aisle commercial flight. (at NASA’s NEAT facility in Sandusky)
- 2023-More tests with Boeing’s modified Saab 340B aircraft and GE’s CT7 engines to develop a hybrid electric propulsion system.
In 2013, WVXU reported on the opening of the EPISCenter on the University of Dayton campus. At that time the emphasis was more about additional power for cockpit computers and passenger entertainment.
“As we approach the 10th anniversary of opening EPISCenter, the growth has already outpaced our original expectations for electrical systems development and testing,” said Joe Krisciunas, president and general manager of electrical power systems for GE Aerospace.”
GE Aerospace is developing next-generation technologies as part of the CFM RISE (Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engines) program, including the development of hybrid electric.