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Electric aircraft close to take-off

30 June 2020

Technology is being developed that could see electric aircraft in our skies within just 10 years. David Latimer, Chief Executive Officer of Magnomatics, explores how pressure to reduce noise and carbon dioxide emissions is driving the innovations that will make this possible.

It is fast becoming a matter of when, rather than if, a short-haul electric aircraft will take to our skies. The pace of innovation is accelerating as more organisations bring their research and development resources to the goal of creating the all-electric aircraft. 

As in the automotive sector, the aviation industry is turning to electric and hybrid technology to reduce environmental impact, as a future without jet fuel becomes a real possibility.

For example, Rolls-Royce, Airbus and Siemens are working on the E-Fan X programme, which will have a two-megawatt (2MW) electric motor mounted on a BAE 146 jet. It is set to fly in 2021.

United Technologies, which includes engine-maker Pratt & Whitney in its portfolio, is working on its Project 804, a hybrid electric demonstrator designed to test a 1MW motor as well as the sub-systems and components required. The firm says it should provide fuel savings of at least 30 percent. It should fly in 2022 and is forecast to be ready for regional airliners by the mid-2020s.

Read the full article in the July issue of DPA.

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