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Aviation firm announces inverter technology breakthrough

9th February 2024

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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UK-US zero carbon emissions aviation company ZeroAvia has announced that the initial testing campaign for its in-house-developed 200 kW continuous power inverter has been successfully concluded. Inverters take direct current (dc) power supplied by an electric power source (whether batteries or hydrogen fuel cells or hybrid systems) and convert it into alternating current for, as well as controlling its flow to, electric motors. In the case of the company’s hydrogen electric aircraft powertrains, the electricity source is hydrogen fuel cells.

The inverter has been working at 230 kW from 800 V dc, with a power density of more than 20 kW/kg. The company described this performance as a “large step change”, and an intellectual property breakthrough.

“ZeroAvia has developed its own silicon carbide inverters over the last two years, with a number of innovations around semiconductor module designs, gate driver designs, modularity of phase circuits, and a high degree of manufacturability,” stated the company. “Additionally, advanced thermal management technologies and integration enable high performance at altitude and successful engine compartment location. The company has developed the inverters in single (225 kW peak/200 kW continuous) and dual (450 kW peak/400 kW continuous) configurations.”

This core inverter technology will be used by the company across all its powertrains. It will first be fitted to its ZA600 600 kW motor, currently going through the certification processes in both the UK and US, which is intended to power 9-passenger to 19-passenger aircraft. It will also be used in the company’s modular 900 kW HyperCore electric motor, designed to be stacked in series in its ZA2000 powertrains.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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