The Institute of Propulsion Technology

The Institute of Propulsion Technology
Aerial view of the institute and its infrastructure of test facilities at the DLR site in Cologne, Germany.

We are making highly efficient engines even more powerful and researching future propulsion solutions for climate-neutral aviation. At the same time, we are focusing on an environmentally friendly power industry with the development of advanced power plant turbines. Our research covers a wide range of gas turbine technologies.

What makes us special: We combine component, computer simulation and experimental expertise under one roof, which gives us a comprehensive understanding of turbomachinery. This is unique in Europe.

Our researchers are innovating for a livable, green future

Gas turbines are essential for climate-friendly aviation and low environmental impact in the power industry. Because of their enormous efficiency, they are used to generate power in a number of industrial sectors. They have the highest thrust-to-weight ratio and very high safety standards. Although the technology is already very mature and highly complex, we need to further increase its efficiency to meet climate change targets.

Extensive system and evaluation expertise in drive technology is our strength

At the Institute of Propulsion Technology, we develop low-emission, quiet and powerful engines and work on ultra-efficient propulsion systems. There are promising approaches at component and concept level, such as open rotor concepts with extremely high bypass ratios, hybrid propulsion concepts or revolutionary ideas based on gas turbines. With our extensive systems and evaluation expertise, our scientists identify interfaces for new technologies and integrate them into current turbomachinery technology.

There is also great potential in new energy sources such as sustainable aviation fuels, which require only minor modifications to engines, and hydrogen, which has a high energy density. In numerous national and international projects, we are working with industry to investigate the direct combustion of hydrogen in gas turbines. Our laser-optical measurement methods and the endoscopic measurement technology we have developed regularly provide spectacular images and the world's first insights into hydrogen combustion when used in our high-pressure combustion chamber test rigs.

To accelerate the product development and market introduction of new propulsion systems, we evaluate and digitise future propulsion concepts and aircraft engines and develop software solutions for their detailed analysis. Our scientists are working on the development of the digital engine, making an important contribution to the digital transformation of aviation.

Our network

Emission-free air transport and clean energy generation are major challenges. Only through close cooperation and exchange of knowledge between research institutions, universities, industry, politics and authorities in the areas of technology development, standardisation and certification can propulsion systems be developed that meet environmental requirements and are internationally marketable.

In addition to our own research activities, we collaborate on topics and research issues with representatives from the research, aerospace and energy communities. We contribute our systems expertise at component and concept level, provide support with software solutions developed in-house in the areas of simulation, design and process, and offer our unique test infrastructure for engine components. All to advance climate-neutral aviation and the energy transition in Germany.

Our missions

  • Our aim is to maximise the efficiency, safety and quietness of turbomachinery, with long service life and low manufacturing costs.
  • We are analysing the requirements for hydrogen propulsion and modifying propulsion concepts for sustainable aviation fuels.
  • We are developing a virtual engine that will shorten development times and accelerate the market introduction of new products. Our long-term goal is simulation-based virtual certification.

Young talent promotion

Our Institute is also dedicated to sharing knowledge and training the next generation of scientists. We take great care to ensure that our work is not only theoretically sound, but also practically applicable.


Prof. Dr. Florian Herbst

Institute Director
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Propulsion Technology
Linder Höhe, 51147 Köln

Annabel Brückmann

Public Relations
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Propulsion Technology
Linder Höhe, 50679 Köln
Tel: +4922036015080