Building The Foundation For A Cleaner Future: Wright Has Demonstrated Next-Generation Inverter Technology For Zero-Emissions Aircraft

By May 18, 2021 2   min read  (297 words)

May 18, 2021 |

Fuel cells works, hydrogen, Wright, fuel cells

ALBANY, N.YWright Electric, Inc., a world leader in zero-emissions commercial aviation, today that the company has delivered another key building block towards development and certification of the first commercially viable, zero-emissions single-aisle aircraft.

Whether a future airplane is battery-electric or powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, an inverter is a key component in high voltage aircraft electrical systems. Its purpose is to convert the DC power from batteries to the AC power required by the propulsion system’s electric motors. Wright has now demonstrated the first such system for large zero-emissions aircraft. Designed to be scalable from 500 kW to 20 MW systems, the Wright inverter targets the following levels of performance:

  • 99.5% efficiency – a 6x improvement in heat loss over current in-production aviation inverters resulting in significantly lower thermal management loads.
  • 30 kW/kg power density – in contrast, today’s technology delivers 10-20 kW/kg. On a standard single-aisle aircraft, this would result in weight savings equivalent to adding an extra 5-10 passengers per flight.

“The level of performance demonstrated with our new inverter will become the baseline for any new electric aircraft and is a key technology in our megawatt system,” said Jeff Engler, CEO of Wright. “In January 2020, we announced the start of our megawatt-scale electric motor program for a single-aisle commercial airliner. Over the coming months, Wright will be making additional announcements regarding the progress of our integrated propulsion system. Zero-emissions commercial aircraft are the future, and Wright is focused on delivering on the promise.”

The inverter now proceeds to the next phase of development including integration with an in-house developed 2 MW motor, high altitude chamber testing, and qualification for flight readiness.

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