MIAMI – NASA has granted a cumulative US$253m to GE Aviation and MagniX for the development of electric aircraft propulsion (EAP) technology. The technology created with this investment will be accessible to consumers by 2035, and it has the potential to play a significant role in the industry’s goal of attaining a net-zero emissions target by 2050.
NASA’s financing was distributed between the two firms for a total of US$253.4m. The majority of the funding, US$179m, went to GE Aviation. MagniX was awarded US$74.3m in total.
The funds are raised from NASA’s Electric Powertrain Flight Demonstration (EPFD) program, which is part of the greater Integrated Aviation Systems Program (IASP), which focuses on flight-oriented, system-level research and technology development to create better air vehicles from advanced aeronautic technologies and operational systems.
NASA’s EPFD project manager, Gaudy Bezos-O’Connor, stated, “GE Aviation and MagniX will undertake integrated megawatt-class powertrain system ground and flight displays to verify their concepts and project benefits for future [electrified aviation propulsion] aircraft configurations.”
He added that “Through these demonstrations, technological impediments and integration hazards will be identified and eliminated. It will also assist in the establishment of future EAP standards and regulations.”
The technologies being built will be aimed at aircraft that aren’t just for general aviation, but also for short-range and regional passenger planes. The two companies will build and showcase the technology over the next five years, including both ground and aerial tests.
About GE Avaiation and MagniX
GE Aviation is a division of General Electric that remains to be a global leader in aircraft engine manufacturing and distribution. With 33,000 engines in operation, GE Aviation, headquartered in Evandale, Ohio, manufactures engines for the greater part of commercial aircraft.
According to GE, “after years of developing individual components of a hybrid-electric system – motors, generators, and power converters – GE will methodically age an integrated hybrid-electric powertrain to show flight capability for single-aisle aircraft.”The company added that “GE will also contribute data and information to help build standards, certification, and regulatory requirements for hybrid-electric engines.”
MagniX, a Singapore-based firm that is majority-owned by the Clermont Group, specializing in electric motor manufacture for electric aircraft, having previously developed its Magni350 and Magni650 electric aircraft engines. The fledgling company recently relocated from Redmond to Everett, Washington, where it is now housed in a new 40,000-square-foot production facility.
“This award from NASA is a testimony to the excellent work being accomplished every day by the team at MagniX,” said MagniX CEO Roei Ganzarski. The next-generation commercial airplane will be made possible by this initiative. We’re honored to be associated with such a prestigious organization as GE.”
Many companies are developing electric aircraft technologies, but the vast majority of them are focused on the air taxi market. GE Aviation and MagniX are working together to create the technologies needed to penetrate broader markets and transport more people.
Featured image: NASA illustration of an advanced subsonic aircraft with an Electrified Aircraft Propulsion system. Photo: NASA