Collins Aerospace reveals plans for an advanced electric power lab

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Soon Rockford will be the home to the most advanced electric power system lab in the aerospace industry; Collins Aerospace is calling that lab “The Grid.”

"It’s going to be redefining aerospace,” said Vice President of Electric Power Systems at Collins Aerospace, Nate Boelkins.

Boelkins along with his team at Collins Aerospace have worked around the clock to create this lab.

"It's going to be the most advanced electric power lab in the world and we are going to use it to develop products for the future of electric flight,” Boelkins said.

This lab will test systems that will be used on next-generation electric aircrafts.

"It also means great things for the environment. Improved fuel consumption for airplanes, fewer noise emissions, easier build cycles so it really is the next generation of flight," Boelkins said.

Collins is investing $50 million into the grid and the 25,000-square-foot lab and the work has already begun.

"We are working on a hybrid electric power propulsion system that is going to take flight in 2022 and the rest is up to the innovators and the really smart people in this business,” Boelkins said.

The lab will bring 50 new jobs to the Forest City and new beginnings for Rockford.

"Understanding aeronautics and understanding the cycle of their business this is an investment we will see reverberations for the next 30 to 50 years right here in our local economy," said Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara.

And McNamara couldn't be more excited.

"Nearly every single plane will be coming through the city of Rockford and the technology behind all this is going to be coming through our community and I think today is just a great sense of pride in where we live,” McNamara said.

Collins Aerospace expects the lab to be complete and running by 2021.