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  • FARNBOROUGH: United Technologies reveals plans for hybrid-electric demonstrator

FARNBOROUGH: United Technologies reveals plans for hybrid-electric demonstrator

Paul Eremenko, the newly appointed chief technology officer of United Technologies, is already making his mark on the company, with the revelation that it is working on a hybrid-electric demonstrator programme, as well as launching a new rapid prototyping and development unit.

Eremenko, speaking at the Farnborough air show today, said the company is developing a number of hybrid-electric flight demonstrators, as the company looks ahead to future propulsion systems.

However, he says it will be a "couple more months" before it is ready to reveal details on the experimental aircraft.

In addition, the new unit – called UTC Advanced Projects – will be a "Skunk Works-type" outfit, and will operate in a "fast-paced, risk-tolerant environment at the heart of UTC", behaving more like a start-up than a traditional aerospace company.

He says it will work across the whole of the company, rather than being confined to a single division like the recently established Gator Works operation at its Pratt & Whitney military engines business.

Eremenko joined UTC earlier this year after a two-year stint as CTO at Airbus. Prior to that, he held roles at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Google Alphabet.

He says that the rapid pace of improvement seen in the power density of electrical components offers the "tantalising possibility" of all-electric aircraft in the future.

A separate electric systems unit inside UTC Aerospace Systems is building a high-voltage electrical systems lab in Rockford, Illinois, where it will be able to validate a 1MW generator, four times as powerful as the units it makes for the Boeing 787.

"We are investing heavily in more-electric [architectures]," says Dave Gitlin, president of UTAS.

Get all the coverage from the Farnborough air show on our dedicated event page

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