Revolutionizing Aviation: MIT Engineers Built Powerful 1-Megawatt Electrical Motor to Electrify the Skies

By: | June 24th, 2023

Image by MIT

The aviation industry is recognized as one of the rapidly expanding consumers of fossil fuels. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization, air travel and transport produce up to 3.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Governments globally are taking steps to cut emissions, such as carbon taxes, emissions trading, and flight restrictions. These measures help reduce air travel emissions, but more action is needed to address global greenhouse gas levels. Electrifying the aviation sector is crucial for achieving climate objectives.

Electrifying aircraft is a promising solution, but it presents considerable challenges.

To date, engineers have only been able to develop small electric planes powered by motors generating hundreds of kilowatts.

However, the realization of electric planes on a commercial scale requires megawatt motors.

Engineers from MIT’s Gas Turbine Laboratory are making significant progress in electrifying larger aircraft by developing a 1-megawatt motor. This advancement aims to minimize the environmental impact of jets.

The development of a megawatt motor by MIT engineers opens the possibility of powering aircraft solely with batteries or fuel cells, eliminating the need for fossil fuels. The motor can also function as a hybrid propulsion system with a turbofan jet engine, allowing electric propulsion at certain flight stages.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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