The American company VerdeGo Aero has completed the first stage of ground testing of a promising generator set for hybrid air taxis, which is based on a diesel cycle engine powered by jet fuel Jet A. According to Aviation Week, the tests were carried out with an electric power of more than 150 kilowatts and were recognized as successful.
Some developers are looking at hybrid power plants as an ecological compromise between conventional and all-electric aircraft. It is believed that thanks to such installations, hybrid vehicles will be able to perform flights that are not much inferior in duration to conventional airplanes and helicopters, and cause less damage to the environment.
At the same time, the overwhelming majority of hybrid power plants for advanced aircraft are being developed on the basis of gas turbine engines. Among other things, the developers believe that such engines can achieve the high shaft speed required to drive the generator to high power.
The prototype of the VerdeGo generator set is based on the Continental CD-265 diesel engine. During the tests, specialists checked the operation of the engine and generator under various loads, including peak ones. Other details of the tests have not yet been disclosed.
According to the developers, their generator set can be combined with batteries. In this case, it will be able to deliver a peak power of up to 500 kilowatts. In addition, two battery installations can be combined. Then they will be able to deliver constant power up to 360 kilowatts and peak power up to one megawatt.
VerdeGo says their generator set will be 40 percent cheaper to run than a similar system based on a gas turbine engine of comparable power. In addition, the VerdeGo's CO2 emissions will be 35 percent less and it will be 10 decibels quieter. The unit weighs 277 kilograms, including the cooling system, control electronics and exhaust system.