Aviation-grade motor tested for transport-category zero-emissions aircraftEngineering360 News Desk | September 09, 2021
Wright Electric has begun testing its 2 MW motor, reportedly the largest propulsive aerospace motor engineered to date for electric and hydrogen aircraft.
Scaling electric and hybrid-electric propulsion systems from general aviation to larger aircraft applications requires much more powerful and lighter weight altitude-capable electric motor technology. Their purpose is to convert the DC power from batteries into propulsive thrust that is compatible with industry standard ducted fan and propeller systems for commercial aircraft. The motor is being designed to be scalable from 500 kW to 4 MW systems.
The 10 kW/kg specific power of the motor design represents a significant improvement compared to available aircraft propulsion motors. This allows application of the motor up to the single-aisle class aircraft to enable electric and hybrid-electric flight with little to no emissions. Engineers will test 10 2 MW motors on the Wright 1 aircraft for a total of 20 MW, which is as powerful as the A320 Airbus aircraft flown by major airlines operating today. A two-motor system could power a 50 seat aircraft such as the ATR-42.
The next phase of development will entail integration with an in-house developed highly efficient inverter, high altitude chamber testing and qualification for flight readiness.