Two of Canada's largest aviation companies, Pratt & Whitney Canada and De Havilland Canada will join forces to develop hybrid electric propulsion systems.
The program, which has the support of the governments of Canada and Quebec, is part of a $C163 million investment in the sector.
Both companies believe that hybrid-electric propulsion technology will drive significant improvements in efficiency by optimising performance, targeting a 30% reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions, compared to a modern regional turboprop airliner.
Pratt & Whitney and De Havilland will integrate the technology into a De Havilland Canada Dash 8-100 flight demonstrator, with an electric motor and controller from Collins Aerospace.
“Pratt & Whitney Canada is proud to be a leader toward ever more sustainable aircraft propulsion technologies and be an integral part of Canada’s green recovery plan,” said Maria Della Posta, president, Pratt & Whitney Canada.
“With a long-time commitment to sustainability and as Canada’s top aerospace investor in research and development, having invested $C500 million annually, we are driving economic growth, innovation and workforce expertise to benefit the environment.
"Hybrid-electric technology has an important role to play in enabling the next step-change in efficiency for aircraft engines, and we are uniquely positioned to demonstrate this potential.”
Pratt & Whitney believes that developing hybrid electric systems is a crucial part of the aviation industry reaching its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 2050.
The company's PT6A series of turbo-prop engines power some of aviation's workhorse aircraft including the Beech King Air series, Cessna Grand Caravan, Air Tractor AT-802, Pilatus PC-12 and PC-21, Quest Kodiak, Piper's M500/M600 and Daher TBM 900 series, consuming on average between 165 and 230 litres of turbine fuel every hour.
The Dash-8 hybrid-electric demonstrator is currently scheduled to take its first flight in 2024.