Holtec announces novel combined nuclear/solar power plant design: CSNP
Geespace launches 11 low-orbit satellites, expanding Geely Future Mobility Constellation

Wright Electric successfully validates motor safety through altitude-simulated partial discharge testing

Wright Electric, a developer of electric propulsion systems for regional aircraft (earlier post), successfully tested its motor in the Wright Lab at a simulated atmosphere equivalent to 43,000 feet of altitude without Partial Discharge (PD). Conducted at 1,000 volts, this test sets the stage for simulated altitude testing at the NASA Electric Aircraft Testbed (NEAT) facility later this year.

PD-free performance is crucial to operating electric motors on aircraft. When electric motors run at high voltages, the insulation surrounding the conductive components is subjected to electric stress. Over time, this stress may weaken the insulation, leading to PD. PD can further accelerate the degradation of insulation, potentially causing motor failure, among other safety concerns.

As altitude increases, the voltage level needed to cause PD decreases. Because of this, PD is not really an issue for many electric aircraft under development, such as air taxis, which cruise around 3,000 feet where typical insulation is sufficient. Wright Electric is developing motors and inverters for commercial aircraft that typically cruise at 36,000 feet, making air taxi solutions impractical.

Achieving zero PD at this altitude is a significant step forward in realizing Wright’s goal of zero emissions on flights shorter than 800 miles.

45% of all aviation emissions are from single-aisle flights. By proving those flights can be flown without potential discharge, we are one step closer to eliminating this massive form of pollution.

—Jeff Engler, Founder and CEO of Wright Electric


Wright is developing an electric motor with 2MW of shaft power.

Wright has worked on development programs with NASA, the US Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense in its motor and generator development efforts.

Wright Electric Inc. (Wright) is a US-based company working to decarbonize the industries that are hardest to decarbonize. Wright focuses on three main areas: (1) propulsion systems for electric aircraft; (2) lightweight generators for industrial and defense applications; and (3) specialized energy storage solutions for the aerospace and defense industries.


  • V. Madonna, P. Giangrande, W. Zhao, H. Zhang, C. Gerada and M. Galea (2021) “Electrical Machines for the More Electric Aircraft: Partial Discharges Investigation,” in IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, vol. 57, no. 2, pp. 1389-1398 doi: 10.1109/TIA.2020.3046434

  • A. Rumi, L. Lusuardi, A. Cavallini, M. Pastura, D. Barater and S. Nuzzo (2021) “Partial Discharges in Electrical Machines for the More Electrical Aircraft. Part III: Preventing Partial Discharges,” in IEEE Access, vol. 9, pp. 30113-30123 doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2021.3058090



Great background enabling technology.

The comments to this entry are closed.