FLO | AddEnergie deploying 120 EV chargers in New York City
UNFI adding 53 all-electric TRUs to California fleet

Wright demonstrates megawatt-class high-performance inverter for electric aircraft

Wright Electric, a company developing an electric single aisle commerical aircraft comparable to the Boeing 737 or Airbus 320 (earlier post), has begun testing and has demonstrated a megawatt-class high-performance inverter. Whether a future airplane is battery-electric or powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, an inverter is a key component in high-voltage aircraft electric systems.

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 a weight savings equivalent to adding an extra 5-10 passengers per flight.

Wright’s inverters are designed for a high-frequency drive. The Wright inverter has a 300 kHz high-frequency output, compared to standard inverters which have 50 kHz to 100 kHz frequencies.

Wright’s inverter uses a novel switching technology which reduces total losses by a factor of two over similarly rated systems.

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.

Wright began its motor development program in 2018; its motor needs were different from what was commercially available. Wright is currently part of ARPA-E’s ASCEND program. (Earlier post.)

Wright is funded by venture capital firms and the US government. Wright received $7 million in motor/inverter-related government contracts in 2020.

Wright Electric was founded in 2016 by a team of aerospace engineers, powertrain experts, and battery chemists.



Hybrid turbofans with SAF

The comments to this entry are closed.