Safran Helicopter Engines has completed the first runs of a hybridised version of its Tech TP turboprop powerplant which incorporates an electric motor to boost the unit’s efficiency.

Based on the Ardiden 3 helicopter engine, the Tech TP now includes technologies from the EU-funded Clean Sky 2 ACHIEVE project.

First run of Tech TP ACHIEVE  Adrien Daste - Safran

Source: Adrien Daste/Safran

This sees an electric motor-generator integrated into the engine’s propeller and accessory gearbox, allowing taxiing on battery power alone, or providing an in-flight boost to reduce workload on the turbine.

Testing ran from November 2022 until January this year. Modes evaluated included full-electric start-up, electric taxi and power-generation, boosted maximum power at take-off, and hybrid operation.

Didier Nicoud, Safran Helicopter Engines executive vice-president of engineering says: “Leveraging hybrid electric technologies is an important pillar in our strategy to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

Work from ACHIEVE will inform a follow-on research programme, HE-ART, carried out under the EU’s Clean Aviation initiative and led by Rolls-Royce Deutschland.

Project HE-ART will by 2025 ground test a new hybrid-electric demonstrator engine designed for regional turboprop applications. Safran Helicopter Engines is technical co-ordinator for the effort.

This article has been updated with additional information from Safran in the fourth paragraph.