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MagniX Electric Airplane Protoype

With the concerns of greenhouse gasses rising, electric powered transport is becoming a more popular choice and a crucial factor in the fight to sustain our environment. This transport, however, is now taking off (literally).

Queensland-based company MagniX, in collaboration with the University of Queensland and aerospace firm Ferra has created a high-power density electric motor for light planes, which will be tested in only a few weeks. Here is what the company had to say about their sustainable transport: “Power density and efficiency are the keys to successful transformation of energy supplies to ensure our environment is sustainable in the face of growing energy demands. We are creating solutions for modern transport and energy needs.”

MagniX is one of many companies innovating new environmentally friendly technology specifically focusing on electronic motors. Siemens and Airbus are also in this electronic race to the sky, with their electric motors being trialled in the past 2 years – one in Germany and the other across the English Channel.

 magniX electric engine

Rendering of a magniX electric engine. Photo: magniX

The three-year collaborative project earned a 2.5 million dollar grant from the Australian government last week, now making them a fully funded 12 million dollar development. Similar to Siemens and Airbus’ motors, their motor will also weigh 50 kg and produce 250 kilowatts of power. Director Jason Chaffey noted: “currently the aircraft industry lacks an electric motor with the required power density to replace fossil fuel motors. Lightweight and power dense motors are needed to make this a reality and magniX has unique capabilities and proven intellectual property in this area…With $246 billion spent globally on fuel for civilian and military aircraft each year, there is a lot of interest in electric aircraft given the potential for lower fuel consumption and operating costs.”

The prototype, which is currently undergoing laboratory flight simulation tests, could be up in the air for a trial run before 2020. The data collected from the tests, which analyse its speed, endurance and reliance while in flight, will then be used in the development of their superconducting motor, a larger version of the prototype to be used in commercial/ passenger aircraft in the next decade.

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