The answer lies in the… superconducting magnets

Superconducting electrical motors could replace conventional aircraft engines, and if run on hydrogen could offer low-carbon air transport, a team of US researchers claim.

“We could potentially build a superconducting motor and generator smaller than a gas turbine, which would make possible electric propulsion,” says [Phillppe] Masson [of Florida State University]. Electrical propulsion would not only decrease emissions but also reduce to a minimum the needs for maintenance as all hydraulic systems would be eliminated, he adds. The team has designed such systems with high fidelity models and optimization tools. Masson adds that the team is now looking for an industrial partner to build a prototype of the superconducting turbofan. “The technology is there,” he says, “it is a matter of finding a source of funding.”

Meanwhile, the UK Telegraph investigates the rush to green air travel…

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