As joint recipient of a £10,000 Under 30s grant from London-based manufacturing specialist Get It Made, the funding has enabled the Midlands-based business to accelerate its transition towards prototype testing.
Company co-founder Radovan Gallo said the grant has enabled the team to explore novel designs and achieve higher performance thanks to access to new capabilities and manufacturing techniques.
In a statement, Gallo said: “As we’re transitioning towards flight testing of our prototype motors and batteries, we’re running a very hardware-rich and R&D intensive development programme. The support from Get It Made has allowed us to develop and test new concepts faster. Having access to quick turnaround of high-precision CNC machined parts has been key to meeting our ambitious deadlines.
“Being a hardware-based deeptech start-up requires a lot of investment and financing to go from an idea to a marketable product. This is particularly true for an industry like aerospace that is so highly regulated. We have faced a lot of challenges raising investment especially in this risk averse climate. However, we’ve been fortunate to gain support along the way.”
Set for launch in 2024, the company’s Flux-75 has been designed to provide 75kW power, give over 60 minutes of endurance, comes in 60V,400V,800V system architecture, and provides 1500 hours of service life. The unit can be installed with no structural modifications required. Once fitted, the unit maintains the weight and balance of the aircraft.
The company added that total cost of ownership is reduced by 40 per cent compared to a Rotax 912 engine.
Flux’s initial step towards electrification of the sector will begin with 2-seat and 4-seat light aircraft used in aeroclubs and flight schools to train new pilots. According to Gallo, this market will be used to prove the company’s technology and build relationships with the regulators before moving up to 50-seat regional airliners.
“This is all part of our strategy to help aircraft manufacturers decarbonise their passenger and cargo fleets,” said Gallo. “Compared to piston and turboprop engines, our technology can reduce aircraft operating costs by over 30 per cent and halve the perceived noise levels, while producing no greenhouse gas emissions at the point of use. Our complete powertrain systems act as direct replacements for popular combustion engines. Therefore, we represent a turnkey solution with straightforward integration for our customers.”
The technology also has financial benefits as the cost of charging batteries for one hour of flight is approximately 10 times cheaper than the cost of aviation fuel. Due to simpler construction and fewer moving parts, the maintenance of electric powertrains will be cheaper and less frequent.
Gallo said: “We genuinely believe that this innovation will re-ignite the general aviation industry and allow it to thrive into the future, one that’s quiet, clean and affordable for everyone. Regional and domestic flights are some of the most polluting flights in operation today, with all journeys shorter than 500 miles together accounting for over 20% of all aviation emissions. This is what motivates us to become the leader in sustainable aviation technologies.”