in Aerospace

ZeroAvia completes testing of new inverter design

Posted 24 January 2024

ZeroAvia today announced that it has successfully completed initial testing of its 200kW continuous power inverter design.


 
Above: ZeroAvia's dual configuration inverter.
Courtesy ZeroAvia

The inverter has been operating at 230 kW from 800 Volts of direct current (Vdc), with a power density of over 20 kW/kg. This inverter performance is a large step change for the industry.
 
The highly weight-efficient inverter technology is an integral part of the zero-emission, hydrogen-electric aviation engines that ZeroAvia is developing. Inverters take the DC-power supplied by the electric power source and convert it to Alternating Current while controlling the flow to electric motors. Such power sources can be hydrogen fuel cells (as in ZeroAvia engines), batteries, or even various hybrid systems. Hydrogen-electric systems are predicted to have the furthest reaching environmental benefits of all technologies considered practical for commercial aviation, with only low temperature water vapor exhaust.  
 
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 high degree of manufacturability. Additionally, advanced thermal management technologies and integration enable reliable high performance at altitude and successful engine compartment location. The company has developed the inverters in single (225kw peak / 200kw continuous) and dual (450kw peak / 400kw continuous) configurations.
 
ZeroAvia’s core inverter technology will be used across all sizes of engines – starting with 600kW ZA600 engine for nine-19 seat aircraft and then later also integrated into the HyperCore motor – the modular 900kW electric motor designed to be stacked in series in ZA2000, the company’s engine variant for 40-80 seat regional turboprops.  
 
With ZA600 certification efforts underway across the US and UK, this validation of the key engine component is a major milestone for the company and supports the plan to complete certification by the end of 2025. It also represents an IP breakthrough, with the ZeroAvia inverter representing a step change in specific power performance for power electronics devices.  

Val Miftakhov, Founder and CEO, ZeroAvia, said: “Our electric propulsion team in Washington State has delivered transformative technology here in a record short time window, moving rapidly with an agile mindset. This kind of technological breakthrough will create enormous value for the company and will have massive impact on transitioning the entirety of aviation away from fossil fuels.”

 

 

 

 

 



 

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