NASA grants funding to GE Aviation and MagniX for the development of electric propulsion
GE Aviation and MagniX are the two US companies awarded by NASA with a contract total of $253 million for the development of electric aircraft propulsion (EAP) technologies for aircraft. The technology developed through this funding is intended to reach consumers in 2035 and has the potential to make an important contribution to the industry-wide commitment to a zero emissions target by 2050.
With a combined value of $253.4 million, NASA funding was split between the two companies. GE Aviation received the most funding, totaling $179 million. MagniX received $74.3 million. Support comes from NASA’s Electric Propulsion Flight Demonstration Program (EPFD); a project belonging to a larger NASA establishment known as the Integrated Aviation Systems Program (IASP), a program specializing in flight-oriented, system-level research and technological development for the transition to advanced aeronautical technologies in future air vehicles and operating systems.
Over the next five years, the two companies will develop and demonstrate the technology, conducting ground and flight tests.
“GE Aviation and MagniX will conduct ground and flight demonstrations of the integrated megawatt class propulsion system to validate their project concepts and benefits for the future [electrified aircraft propulsion] aircraft configurations, ”said Gaudy Bezos-O’Connor of NASA, EPFD project manager. “These demonstrations will identify and remove technical barriers and integration risks. It will also help report on the development of standards and regulations for future EAP systems. “
The technologies being developed will aim to target the technology to aircraft beyond general aviation, taking advantage of both short-range and regional passenger aircraft markets.
Who are they
GE Aviation is a subsidiary of General Electric and continues to be a leader in the manufacture and supply of aircraft engines to consumers around the world. Based in Evandale, Ohio, GE Aviation produces engines for most commercial aircraft with a combined total of 33,000 engines in service.
“After years of maturation of individual components of a hybrid-electric system (engines, generators and power converters), GE will systematically mature an integrated hybrid-electric propellant to demonstrate flight readiness for single-aisle aircraft “says GE. “GE will also provide guidance and data to set standards and certification and regulation requirements for hybrid-electric motors.”
Founded in 2009, majority-owned by the Singapore-based MagniX company of the Clermont group, it specializes in the manufacture of electric motors for electric aircraft, as it has produced its Magni350 and Magni650 electric aircraft motors. The young company has recently relocated from Redmond to Everett, Washington, to a new 40,000-square-foot manufacturing building.
MagniX CEO Roei Ganzarski commented on the effort: “This NASA award is a testament to the fantastic work that the MagniX team does every day. This program will enable the next generation commercial aircraft. We are proud to be part of the same cohort with a big company like GE “.
The industry has many companies that develop technologies for electric aircraft, however, a large majority of them are aimed at the air taxi market. GE Aviation and MagniX are looking to develop the technology needed to break into larger markets, capable of carrying more passengers.