Rolls-Royce, Federal Ministry and the state of Brandenburg Strengthen Development of Hybrid-Electric Propulsion Systems

Rolls-Royce has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Labour and Energy Brandenburg (MWAE) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) to advance the research and development of hybrid-electric propulsion systems for the next generation of aviation in Brandenburg.

The partners agreed on the establishment of development, testing and production facilities, creating an industrial eco-system for hybrid-electric aviation propulsion systems in Dahlewitz and the Lusatia region that’s globally unique. The project will be supported by funding from the Structural Strengthening Act, the federal government’s aeronautics research programme and other state funds.

Within the new programme Rolls-Royce Deutschland today opens an operating facility in Cottbus and plans to expand its research and development capabilities in Dahlewitz. The company is leading the way on one of the world’s most comprehensive hybrid-electric aerospace development and integration programmes for a wide range of applications, including technologies for small gas turbines.

With a horizon until 2027 and accompanied by positive funding decisions, Rolls-Royce Deutschland aims to make significant investments for the development project in Brandenburg, securing about 50 highly-skilled jobs in the region already in 2021. The corresponding work will be split between the Dahlewitz site and the new facility, that will be based at the Center for Hybrid Electric Systems Cottbus (CHESCO) of Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg. The technical management of the projects will be in Dahlewitz, while a high proportion of work for the development project will be carried out in Cottbus with support from Dahlewitz and from our world class electrical design teams based in Bavaria.

Rob Watson, Director Rolls-Royce Electrical, said: “The race to net zero in aviation is both vitally important and one of the most extreme technological challenges there is. The long term and increasing support of the German Government for aerospace technology is a crucial enabler for Rolls-Royce to meet our commitments to sustainable power and net zero by 2050. Building on the advanced capabilities of our electrical team in Bavaria, the establishment of development, testing and production facilities in Dahlewitz and the Lusatia region will enable Rolls-Royce to deliver hybrid-electric propulsion systems for the next generation of aviation.”

Dr Joerg Au, Engineering Director Rolls-Royce Deutschland, said: “We are looking forward to working with other partners to build a globally unique industrial ecosystem for low-emission, hybrid-electric aviation propulsion systems here in Brandenburg. The work done by our team in Germany will enable a new class of quieter and cleaner air transport and our Dahlewitz site – one of the centres for the further development of hybrid propulsion systems in our company – will thus be further strengthened.”

“Rolls-Royce is not only one of the most important players in the aviation industry, the company also sets the pace for the transformation process of the industry. It makes us proud that Rolls‑Royce wants to expand the research and development of hybrid-electric systems for the next generation of aviation here in Brandenburg. This is once again an impressive commitment to Brandenburg as a business location,” explained Hendrik Fischer, State Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Energy of Brandenburg, at the signing of the memorandum of understanding.

Fischer continued: “I am particularly pleased that Rolls-Royce, in addition to expanding its research & development capacities in Dahlewitz, also opens a presence in Cottbus and work closely with partners from the region. This is an important contribution to the structural development in Lusatia. At the same time, Rolls-Royce’s commitment will help Brandenburg to further raise its profile as an important region for the mobility of the future. The state government is therefore happy to support the company with all the means at its disposal.”

Thomas Jarzombek, Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy, on the occasion of the signing: “I am delighted that research and development for the aviation of the future is being expanded here in Lusatia. Hybrid-electric propulsion systems are the technology of the future for environmentally friendly aviation and the Federal Government has provided significant support for this settlement. In a joint effort by industry, the DLR and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a supra-regional research cluster is being created in Cottbus, which will take the developed technical principles of hybrid-electric flight and apply them consistently. This benefits not only Lusatia, but Germany as a whole as an aviation location.”

Rolls-Royce Deutschland will involve existing and new partners from the Lusatia region to a large extent in the work for the development project and continue the ongoing search for industrial partners. The Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU), the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are scientific partners of the project.

Electrification of flight is an important part of Rolls-Royce’s sustainability strategy and supports our aim to contribute to a net zero carbon future by 2050. Our Rolls-Royce Electrical teams in the UK, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Singapore and the US are working on several projects to develop sustainable, efficient and quieter technology for aviation, marine, land and industrial applications.

Image courtesy of Rolls -Royce

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