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19 December, 2019 - 11:01 By Kate Sweeney

Epoch Wires wins funding to design superconducting machines for future aircraft

Epoch Wires, a Cambridge-based technological and engineering company, has launched a research and development project to design high temperature superconducting machines for future aircraft.

The project is co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. Based on the latest magnesium diboride (MgB2) superconducting wires, Epoch Wires have identified a method to enable the design of light-weight superconducting machines for future electric aircraft production. 

Epoch Wires will run the project together with its collaborative partner, The University of Strathclyde, who will develop a new MgB2 machine model to quantify the benefits and predict the utmost limits of superconducting machines using the latest MgB2 technology. 

Given that since July 2019, the UK government have included the aviation market into their net-zero emissions targets, this development can significantly aid the reduction of emissions caused by commercial aircraft - an industry that currently contributes to 3% of all global CO2 emissions. 

Future aircraft designs will redefine tomorrows aviation landscape and will require disruptive technologies to achieve our long-term objectives; a reduction in noise levels, fuel and carbon emissions. 

Electric and hybrid-electric propulsion are foreseen to be the most promising technologies for addressing these challenges. 

Since conventional electrical machines and transmission systems cannot meet the high-power density requirements, superconducting electrical distributed propulsion systems bridge the technology gap for future electric aircraft. 

Epoch Wires have established a network of collaborators to develop superconductive machines and we are actively looking for additional equipment manufacturers to design greener, sustainable solutions for the future. 

“Epoch Wires are at the forefront of developing superconductive wires and cables operating in liquid helium free environment,” said Dr Serdar Atamert, CEO and Founder of Epoch Wires. 

“We’re dedicated to designing greener, more sustainable solutions for the future and this funding and new collaborations will help us get there faster.”

The project will provide a full technology appreciation of the power density and efficiency of superconducting machines, based on the state-of-the-art MgB2 manufacturing technology of Epoch Wires leading to the design and production of prototype generators.

Dr Atamert is working with Penny Lord, the Enterprise Europe Network Innovation Adviser on their Innovate2Succeed programme, a fully-funded business support initiative designed to help SMEs scale up through better innovation management.

“We’re delighted to support the innovation-driven growth and work with this disruptive technology company,” said Lord, based at St John’s Innovation Centre. 

“Future aircraft is one of the emerging tech markets Epoch Wires have the ambition and technology to successfully enter and gain a foothold on their journey to scale.”

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