Grant propels Flux Aviation towards carbon zero flights

Posted on 22 Nov 2023 by The Manufacturer

Award-winning start-up Flux Aviation has taken a leap forward in its long-term goal of decarbonising the UK’s regional and domestic flights with ultra high-performance electric motors and batteries, after being awarded funding.

As joint recipient of a £10,000 Under 30s grant from Get It Made, a London-based manufacturing specialist, the funding has enabled the business to accelerate development of its 75kW battery electric powertrain system.

Sky-high ambitions

Launched in August 2021, the aerospace start-up is the brainchild of thirty-something entrepreneurs Neofytos Dimitriou and Radovan Gallo who met whilst studying engineering at Southampton University. Following a recent round of investment, the business is now expanding after moving into a new unit at Space Business Centre Warwick. Already on an upwards trajectory, Flux was recently named Midlands’ Innovative Startup of the Year at the 2023 StartUp Awards.

Designed as a drop-in replacement for existing combustion engines, the electric powertrain system is part of Flux Aviation’s long-term goal of quiet, clean and affordable flights. Notoriously loud, dirty and extremely expensive to run and maintain, even with technological improvements, combustion engines are not going to be a long-term solution for general aviation powertrains. As the industry faces mounting pressure to reach sustainability targets amid rising operating costs, Flux’s solution is a sustainable and economical alternative.

Gallo explains: “From 2-seat trainer aircraft and up to 50-seat regional airliners, we are helping aircraft manufacturers decarbonise their passenger and cargo fleets. Compatibility with a range of existing aircraft types will allow us to supply existing market without having to design a completely new airframe. We are starting by electrifying the training aircraft market. These are typically 2-seat and 4-seat light aircraft used in aeroclubs and flight schools to train new pilots. This is our beachhead market to prove the technology and build relationships with the relevant regulators.”

Accelerated testing

As Flux Aviation transitions towards flight testing of our prototype motors and batteries, it is running a very hardware-rich and R&D intensive development programme. Gallo says that the support from Get It Made has allowed them to develop and test new prototypes faster. It has allowed the team to explore novel designs and achieve higher performance thanks to access to new capabilities and manufacturing techniques.

Luke Smoothy, Director and Founder of Get It Made: “We couldn’t be happier to offer this grant to such an innovative, up and coming start-up so impassioned by the need to cut carbon emissions in aviation, and we’re excited to see the progress they are making with the resources of our grant at their disposal. When we read their application, we were so impressed by their technical understanding and their ideas to put the industry on a greener, more cost-efficient path with far-reaching benefits. It only felt right for us to help facilitate this through our grant.”

Lower emissions and noise, reduced costs

Gallo sees his start-up’s solution as one which has multiple benefits: “Compared to piston and turboprop engines, our technology can reduce aircraft operating costs by over 30% 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, and are integrated, heavily optimised units. What we represent is a turnkey solution with straightforward integration for customers.

“Our ultimate ambition is to scale our technology to decarbonise all regional and domestic flights. These 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. 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.”

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