Kawasaki to Participate in an International Joint Development Project on a Power Generation System for next-generation aircraft

Oct. 24, 2013

Tokyo, October 24, 2013 — Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. announced today that it has decided to participate in an international joint development project on the power generation system for next-generation small- and medium-size commercial aircraft. Kawasaki will be partnering with Boeing, Japan Aircraft Development Corporation (JADC) and NSK Ltd. in this joint effort.

The project will aim to have a system that is ready for practical application (TRL6*1) by the end of FY2015. The overall development plan of this joint development project will be formulated by JADC, while Kawasaki will design the system. NSK will be responsible for the element tests. Kawasaki will play an active part from the early stages of technology development, and strive to secure a competitive advantage in the stages of production development.

Airlines tend to demand further improvement in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions reduction for the new aircraft. The power generation system will be required to support engines with higher bypass ratios and a larger capacity, as well as more electric aircraft.

Power generation systems for aircraft use aircraft engines to generate electrical power. The system offered by Kawasaki is a proprietary traction-drive*2 integrated drive generator (T-IDG®), which is differentiated from the conventional type IDG*3 and boasts high efficiency and durability.  In the new system to be developed for this project, Kawasaki will further enhance the T-IDG® in order to meet higher efficiency requirements. The improved generator will reduce the engine load, while supporting the increased load on the power generation system from the more electric aircraft. In particular, the new enhancement will enable the power generation system to produce a steady supply of electricity even when the engine is operating at low-thrust, such as when idling on land or during descending flight.

The next-generation small- and medium-size aircraft are expected to go into service late in the next decade. Kawasaki is moving steadily ahead to develop its technology through this project, with an eye to developing a product with outstanding business potential.

TRL: Technology Readiness Level. A measure developed by NASA to indicate the level of technological achievement. TRL6 indicates technology that is ready for practical application.
Traction-drive system: One of the mechanisms used in continuously variable transmission (CVT) that transmits power through the viscosity of oil.
IDG: A power supply system that uses aircraft engines to generate electrical power. It produces a steady supply of electricity at a constant frequency by controlling the engine speed and driving the generator at a fixed speed.


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