Wright Electric has made progress in electrifying aviation. The US company is focusing on jets, aircraft that fly less than a thousand kilometres. Such aircraft account for ninety percent of aviation emissions and mass electrification would be a major step forward.
Wright Eletric would introduce green planes primarily on popular routes such as New York-Boston, London-Paris and San Francisco-Los Angeles. These are relatively short distances, and there is growing political pressure to eliminate low-cost flights on these routes – Wright would fight pollution with green propulsion rather than elimination.
For electric-powered machines to take off, innovations much like those brought to the automotive industry by Tesla are needed, IndustryWeek argues. They didn’t invent electromobility, but without them, we probably wouldn’t be where we are – thanks to their technological innovations.
Collaborating with the space industry
For spacecraft, rockets and indeed any vehicle launched into space, using the lightest possible equipment is a key requirement, as efficiency is paramount. As Jeff Engler, CEO of Wright Electric, says: “In the space industry, the goal is to make the engine and propulsion as light as possible. For civil aviation, Wright has developed an inverter with NASA’s help that works very efficiently with very low heat loss. The company is now ready to test this solution.
The inverter uses silicon carbide and has been subjected to a very aggressive heat treatment to ensure that it can operate in harsh environments. According to Engler, a longer testing phase will follow, starting with laboratory tests, followed by simulations in 2022 and flight tests in 2023, which means that in two years’ time, the electric planes will be able to fly without passengers.
The company aims to have flight licences for its electrified passenger planes in 2025 or 2026, Industry Week reports.