Electric aircraft: GKN to lead electric fan thruster development

GKN Aerospace and KTH have signed a partnership to jointly develop fan technology for electric aircraft.

Called EleFanT, the project kicked-off in July and is supported by the Swedish Energy Agency.

The project underpins GKN Aerospace’s sustainability goals and will be delivered from its brand-new Global Technology Centre in Trollhättan, Sweden.

Under the project, which spans over 1.5 years, GKN Aerospace and KTH (the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology) will together develop fan technology for smaller regional aircraft.

The project will study aerodynamic design, performance, noise and manufacturing technology for a ducted fan powered by electricity, either from batteries, hydrogen fuel cells or even more conventional hybrid propulsion solutions.

The proposed propulsion solution with a ducted fan instead of a conventional propeller offers significant advantages in three main areas: safety, noise level and engine installation. By rapidly demonstrating fan technology for electric aviation, the EleFanT project will accelerate the pace of electric aviation development and position the participants for international aero-engine and aircraft development projects.

Europe's aviation industry has set clear targets and adopted an ambitious roadmap to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Parallel development of different types of propulsion solutions for aircraft engines is one of the important steps to take.

GKN Aerospace in Trollhättan, Sweden with its innovative aero-engine solutions and KTH with its experience in technology development can make a vital contribution to this technology step.

Henrik Runnemalm, vice president GKN Aerospace Global Technology Centre in Trollhättan, Sweden, commented: "We are very positive about this initiative, which helps us to become part of the solution to aviation's climate challenge. We will benefit greatly from GKN Aerospace and KTH's long experience in turbomachines, lightweight construction and advanced manufacturing technology. From an electrification and sustainability perspective the project is strongly aligned with our recently announced H2GEAR and H2JET programmes."


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