Rolls-Royce has completed the acquisition of the electric and hybrid-electric aerospace propulsion activities of Siemens (formerly known as the eAircraft business), following a period of employee consultation.
Rolls-Royce says the execution of the deal, announced in June this year, underlines the fit of these activities to their strategy to “champion electrification” and will help accelerate their “ambitions as we look to play a major role in the ‘third era’ of aviation.”
“We are very pleased with the rapid execution of the necessary legal and procedural steps to complete this acquisition,” Rob Watson, director – Rolls-Royce Electrical, says. “We are welcoming our new colleagues into Rolls-Royce today and look forward to working with them to pioneer new technologies and solutions.”
“We are at the dawn of the ‘third era’ of aviation, which will bring a new class of quieter and cleaner air transport to the skies, and our new colleagues will add vital skills, expertise and new technology to our portfolio.”
Paul Stein, Rolls-Royce Chief Technology Officer, adds: “The technology portfolio and skills that we have acquired complement our existing developments in electrification, which include micro-grids and hybrid electric trains as well as aerospace applications.”
“Electrification is just one of the ways in which we are making aviation more sustainable. We are continuing to increase the fuel efficiency of our gas turbines; increasing the integration between airframe and engine; and encouraging the development of sustainable fuels.”
The former Siemens business, based in Germany and Hungary, employs around 180 specialist electrical designers and engineers who have been developing a range of all-electric and hybrid electric propulsion solutions for the aerospace industry. They will continue to work in their existing locations.
Rolls-Royce says the team from Siemens was already well known to them as they had been working together on the E-Fan X demonstrator program and they are joining a business that has already made significant strides towards the increased electrification of aviation.
Rolls-Royce says they have conducted successful ground tests of a hybrid propulsion system that can be used across a range of smaller transport platforms including EVTOLs (hybrid electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles), general aviation aircraft and hybrid helicopters. These tests are part of one of the world’s most comprehensive hybrid aerospace turbine engine development and integration programs, paving the way for experimental test flights in 2021. We are also developing an all-electric demonstrator aircraft, as part of the ACCEL initiative that will attempt to break the world speed record for all-electric flight.
The closing of the deal is the latest in a series of electrification announcements from Rolls-Royce. At the end of August, we launched a joint research program on zero-emissions aviation with Widerøe, the largest regional airline in Scandinavia. The program is part of the airline´s ambition to replace and electrify its legacy regional fleet by 2030.
Earlier the same month, Rolls-Royce says they signed a letter of intent for the construction of a demonstration plant for the production of synthetic fuels in the Lausitz region of Germany, together with the State of Brandenburg, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus and other industrial partners.