Combining novel nanocrystalline magnetic materials with advanced manufacturing methods, research spinout Kite Magnetics of Australia is developing electric motors and propulsion systems for electric aircraft designed to enable them to fly further, carry more and emit less. In quick succession after its spinout from Monash University in 2022, Kite has secured $1.85 million in venture funding to support its developments and formed an alliance with H3 Dynamics of France to collaborate on developing hydrogen-electric propulsion systems for aircraft.
Called Aeroperm, the technology was developed in 2018 by researchers Professor Kiyonori Suzuki and Dr. Richard Parsons with the engineering faculty at Monash. Aeroperm is a proprietary magnetic material that involves combining novel nanocrystalline magnetic materials with advanced manufacturing methods. It enables electric motors and generators to be significantly lighter and more efficient, exhibiting an energy loss 10 times less than the magnetic materials used in conventional electric motors.
The research was commercialized by the university through the formation of the spinout company, now headed by Parsons as CEO. The company plans to build, test and manufacture its motors from the ground up at their facility in Clayton, a suburb of Melbourne where Monash has a campus.
“Kite Magnetics is a deep-tech hardware start-up developing the technologies required for a new age of electric aviation, one that is safer, quieter, significantly cheaper and emissions-free,” commented Parsons at the time of the venture funding. “Our electric motors use a newly developed proprietary magnetic materials technology that allows electric motors to be significantly lighter and more efficient than anything available on the market today.”
Shown at top is Kite’s KM-120 is a 120-kW air-cooled, direct drive, radial flux electric propulsion solution featuring its Aeroperm nanocrystalline stator core. Designed from the ground up to meet the demands of CTOL and eVTOL aircraft, the KM-120 can be delivered stand alone or as a complete propulsion solution suitable to power a 4-seat electric aircraft.
In June, Toulouse-based H3 Dynamics and Kite Magnetics announced they have joined forces to build a hydrogen-electric propulsion system using Kite’s 120kW motor and drawing on H3’s 15 years of experience in hydrogen electric flight endurance research. H3 has been developing a distributed nacelle-based hydrogen-electric power system at its Toulouse location.
Integrated with a network of pods including hydrogen storage, the system is designed to provide long-endurance power during flight while enhancing system safety, aircraft control, and facilitating maintenance and repair operations.
In the upcoming months, H3 Dynamics and Kite Magnetics plan to assemble a full-scale system and conduct dedicated aeronautics tests in collaboration with aircraft manufacturers. The propulsor nacelles and derived products have diverse application ranging from small sensing drones to unmanned heavy cargo platforms, airships, business jets, general aviation airplanes and future commercial aircraft.