An Innovative electric motor for aircraft developed by Siemens researchers

Siemens is a pioneer in electric and hybrid electric
aircraft engine technology. As per press release published by Siemens, an electric aircraft engine five times more
powerful than existing electric aircraft motors has been developed by German
engineering giant Siemens, paving the way for commercial-scale
electricity-powered air transportation. 

Siemens researchers have developed a
new type of electric motor that, with a weight of just 50 kilograms, delivers a
continuous output of about 260 kilowatts – five times more than comparable
drive systems. The motor has been specially designed for use in aircraft.
Thanks to its record-setting power-to-weight ratio, larger aircraft with
takeoff weights of up to two tons will now be able to use electric drives for
the first time.

Credit: Siemens

Since the new motor delivers its record-setting
performance at rotational speeds of just 2,500 revolutions per minute, it can
drive propellers directly, without the use of a transmission. “This
innovation will make it possible to build series hybrid-electric aircraft with
four or more seats,” said Frank Anton, Head of eAircraft at Siemens
Corporate Technology, the company’s central research unit.
To implement the world-record motor, Siemens’ experts
scrutinized all the components of previous motors and optimized them up to
their technical limits. New simulation techniques and sophisticated lightweight
construction enabled the drive system to achieve a unique weight-to-performance
ratio of five kilowatts (kW) per kilogram (kg).
The electric motors of comparable strength that are
used in industrial applications deliver less than one kW per kg. The
performance of the drive systems used in electric vehicles is about two kW per
kg. Since the new motor delivers its record-setting performance at rotational
speeds of just 2,500 revolutions per minute, it can drive propellers directly,
without the use of a transmission.
“This innovation will make it possible to build
series hybrid-electric aircraft with four or more seats,” said Frank
Anton, Head of eAircraft at Siemens Corporate Technology, the company’s central
research unit. The motor is scheduled to begin flight-testing before the end of
2015. In the next step, the Siemens researchers will boost output further.
“We’re convinced that the use of hybrid-electric drives in regional
airliners with 50 to 100 passengers is a real medium-term possibility,”
said Anton.
The development of this motor was supported by the
German Aviation Research Program LuFo in a project of Grob Aircraft and Siemens.
In 2013, Siemens, Airbus and Diamond Aircraft successfully flight-tested a
series hybrid-electric drive in a DA36 E-Star 2 motor glider for the first
time. The test aircraft had a power output of 60 kW.
In 2013, the firm successfully tested a series of
hybrid-electric motors in cooperation with Airbus and Diamond Aircraft. The
motor, providing 60kW, was used to power the DA36 E-Star 2 glider, which was
first introduced at the Paris Airshow in 2013.
(Source: Siemens)

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