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A research project to develop a 30 kW multifunctional usable electric jet engine

News International-French

21 May 2015

Schübeler Composite started a project in cooperation with the Laboratory for Materials and Fixing Technology (LWF) at the University of Paderborn for developing a multifunctional usable electric jet engine.

The demand for jet engines and compact axial compressors in the performance class up to 30 kW have increased in the recent years for various application fields such as racing, wind tunnel operation, industry and civil protection (drones). The German company Schübeler Composite started together with the Laboratory for Materials and Fixing Technology (LWF) (University of Paderborn) a new research project to develop a 30 kW jet engine, which has a multi-purpose usage. Unlike conventional - fossil-fuel driven - aggregates, the new development is driven by means of a high-performance and high-efficiency electric motor and is made entirely of lightweight materials.

The drive is based on the idea of a classic fan engine with high bypass ratio. The core engine that drives the main fan shall be replaced here by an extremely efficient electronically commutated electric motor. Only a very small part of the total air flow is conducted through the motor for cooling purposes.

Expansion of the application spectrum
Schübeler Composite develops - alongside the aerodynamic compressor – also the highly efficient electric drive motor and achieves with the combination of a classical fan stage and an electric motor, the independence of the drive from fossil fuels. The completely emission-free, quiet and vibration-free operation of the jet engine allows the extension of the use of spectrum, amongst other things its use is planned for wind tunnel measurements as a mass flow generator, for UAV propulsion, man-carrying gliders and industrial applications (e.g. as CO2 laser).

The jet engine will therefore consist largely of various lightweight materials such as carbon composites and a high-strength aluminum alloys. This is necessary in order to fulfill the high requirements in terms of reliability and power density. Schübeler Composite increases its integration of advanced engineering knowledge and its perfected practical expertise, that has grown for many years.

Cope with high performance requirements
The joining of the lightweight components, which will be under very high mechanical and thermal loads when operating, will probably be one of the biggest challenges in the development of the jet engine.

The project gets an innovation grant from the German Ministry of Economy and Energy as part of the Central Innovation Program for SMEs (ZIM).

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