Rolls-Royce has filed a patent for an aircraft with an accessory system that can be powered independently of the primary propulsion system. The system includes a ram air turbine power system, which integrates an accessory generator with a turbine rotor to manage space and provide unique functionality. The patent also includes a cooling system to cool the electrical generation system. GlobalData’s report on Rolls-Royce gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Rolls-Royce, photovoltaic drones was a key innovation area identified from patents. Rolls-Royce's grant share as of September 2023 was 60%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Aircraft with independent power system for accessories

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230312128A1) describes an aircraft with a unique propulsion system and accessory power system. The aircraft includes a propulsion system that generates thrust for operation and an accessory system that is electrically decoupled from the propulsion system. Instead, the accessory system draws power from a ram air turbine power system.

The ram air turbine power system consists of a turbine assembly with a turbine case and a turbine rotor. The turbine rotor is mounted for rotation and has airfoils arranged between its outer and inner diameters. An electrical generation system is driven by the turbine rotor to produce electrical power for the accessory system. The electrical generation system includes a generator and a rectifier that delivers power to the accessory system.

To cool the electrical generation system, a cooling system is incorporated. The cooling system includes a conduit with cooling fluid, which is in thermal communication with the rectifier and the gas path of the turbine assembly. This allows heat to be transferred from the rectifier to the cooling fluid and then to the gas path.

The patent also describes additional features of the aircraft. For example, the turbine assembly includes a turbine inlet guide vane that redirects air into the turbine case for interaction with the turbine rotor. The conduit of the cooling system extends radially through the turbine inlet guide vane.

Furthermore, the aircraft includes a pod that houses the ram air turbine power system. The pod has a turbine inlet that can be opened or closed to regulate the air flow into the turbine case, thereby controlling the speed and power output of the turbine rotor. The cooling system includes a controller that generates signals to adjust the position of the turbine inlet and the turbine outlet based on factors such as turbine speed, power generated, rectifier temperature, and ambient air temperature.

In addition to the aircraft, the patent also describes an independently-powered unit that can be coupled to an aircraft. This unit includes a pod, an accessory system, a ram air turbine power system, an electrical generation system, and a cooling system. The components and functionality of the unit are similar to those of the aircraft.

Overall, this patent presents a novel aircraft design with a unique propulsion system and accessory power system. The use of a ram air turbine power system and the incorporation of a cooling system contribute to the efficient operation of the electrical generation system. The aircraft and the independently-powered unit offer potential advancements in aircraft technology and power management.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.