Permanent magnets to propel electric aviation

News Analysis




Permanent magnets to propel electric aviation

  • Nils Backeberg

Canadian-based company Duxion Motors completed a ground test of its eJet Motor, a rim-driven jet propulsion motor​​.

The eJet motor, an electric jet engine, uses permanent magnet technology to deliver optimised power-to-weight ratios in a compact design. The press release pointed towards the challenge of mobilising large batteries for long-distance travel.

The issue of range is already commonplace in the automotive industry, which has seen two key technologies take centre stage: lithium-ion batteries for the best energy density in energy storage and rare earth NdFeB permanent magnets for the best energy efficiency in the electric motor. Energy efficiency becomes even more critical in the aerospace industry and the sector will target only the best technologies in batteries, motors and lightweighting for commercialisation.  

Commercial air travel will increasingly have to join global initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint. However, its Net-Zero pathway is still in early stages as the leading technologies are still breaking ground in concept. Airbus has already stated plans for hybrid long-haul flights that utilise electric power to reduce fuel consumption during key parts of take-off and landing. While long-haul flights account for the vast majority of the industry's carbon footprint, short-haul flights may very well be the first in line to adapt or be cut. For example, a bill was passed through parliament in France earlier this year to ban short-haul flights where a train alternative of 2.5 hours or less can replace air travel.