Revolutionising the way we fly

We recently delved into the future of the aviation industry its challenges, areas of opportunities, and how Kite Magnetics has built technology that will redefine the future of aviation. 
Holly Brooks
Jun 2023

It’s hard to believe that there was once a time when in-flight entertainment, free wifi, and free booze were just a figment of someone’s imagination. Shocking. 

Today, in some parts of the world, we can spend $20 (strategically) and arrive in another country, with another language, legal system, and time zone, in just a matter of hours.

Despite the indisputable benefits that aviation has brought to our lives, there remain some lofty hurdles that demand conquering. 

The aviation industry is currently responsible for roughly 2.5% of worldwide emissions, a figure projected to rise to 25% by 2050. 

Fortunately, we are on the cusp of a transformative shift. With the advent of electric motors, a new era of sustainable flying is emerging. The good news: lower emissions, improved safety, and cheaper flights.  

Galileo portfolio company Kite Magnetics is leading this shift, developing technology that enables small to medium-sized aircraft to fly further, carry more and emit less. 

In this article, we will delve into electric aviation technology, industry challenges, investment opportunities, and how Kite Magnetics has built technology that will redefine the future of aviation.

Mighty net-zero commitments  

No doubt, we’ve come a long way since the first aeroplane took to the sky in 1903. From rickety biplanes and propeller-driven cloud cruisers to fighter jets and long-haul people movers, technology and human ingenuity have rewritten the way we navigate this big wide world. 

But progress demands a price. 

With fossil fuels powering a whopping 32 million flights per year, the environmental impacts are grim. 

Today the aviation industry contributes more to climate change than three times the annual emissions of all of Australia. Yikes.

It’s no surprise that in 2021, the aviation industry, including major airlines such as Qantas, British Airways, and American Airlines committed to a net-zero emissions target by 2050

This is a mighty goal that has seen scientists and engineers grappling with the unique challenges that decarbonisation poses for the physics of air travel.

Aeroperm, redefining aviation's rules of the game

Galileo company and Melbourne-based aerospace start-up Kite Magnetics is leading the mission to decarbonise the aviation industry.

Kite Magnetics has developed technology that uses a patented nanocrystalline magnetic material called Aeroperm; an advanced manufacturing technique, to produce lightweight, energy-efficient electric motors.

“Any weight reduction, even if it’s only 100 kilos in the motor, is important. It might let you fly 100 kilometres farther, or it might let you carry 100 kilos more cargo.”

Founder Dr Richard Parsons has written extensively on the science behind this deep-tech innovation. 

The TLDR; They are creating the world’s most powerful zero-emission electric motor. More technical information here if you fancy. 

The beauty of Kite Magnetics is that its motors are compatible with both hydrogen fuel cells and electric batteries. So, as the race to replace traditional jet-fuel motors persists, whichever technology ascends to dominance, Kite Magnetics is ready to solve the crucial issue: decarbonisation. 

The electric motor developed by Kite Magnetics offers:

  • Lower weight: Aeroperm-based nanocrystalline material that enables lighter electric motor designs without sacrificing performance.
  • Higher efficiency: 10x lower core losses than traditional core materials allowing ultra-high efficiency operation over a wide range of speeds.
  • Increased reliability: Ultra-efficient electric motors produce less waste heat which simplifies cooling requirements, lowers operating temperatures, and extends motor life.
  • Zero-emissions: Lighter and more efficient electric motors that will accelerate the adoption of all-electric aviation, cutting emissions of CO2, NOx, sulphates, and soot aerosols sooner.
  • Lower costs: Lighter, ultra-efficient electric motors will allow for more cargo, greater range, or less time charging
  • Reduced noise: Electric motors that are quieter, allowing for more enjoyable air travel, reduced noise pollution, and the potential for extended flight times outside normal airport operating hours.
Kite Magnetics game-changing 120 kW KM-120 Electric motor

Decarbonisation takes flight as aviation's top priority 

With decarbonisation at the top priority on the global "to-do list" the aviation industry is experiencing an unprecedented wave of technological advancements targeting the same mission. 

Prominent players like Safran and Rolls-Royce have already entered the market with their electric aviation technology offerings

Ampaire, a California-based electric aviation company, is developing hybrid-electric aircraft that aim to significantly reduce emissions and fuel consumption. 

ZeroAvia, another notable player, is working on hydrogen-electric powertrain solutions for commercial aircraft, aiming to enable zero-emission flights. 

Eviation, an Israeli company, is developing an all-electric aircraft called Alice, designed for regional travel with a focus on sustainability. 

An electric propulsion technology provider, Magnix, is partnering with various aircraft manufacturers to retrofit existing planes with electric motors, offering a pathway to greener operations. 

Additionally, Slovenia-based Pipistrel, now part of Textron's eAviation business unit, has emerged as a pioneer in the development of electric aircraft. 

Our belief in Kite Magnetics  

With a continuous stream of groundbreaking innovations and technological advancements being announced at increasingly frequent intervals, investors might feel like they’re spoiled for choice. 

What’s more, the compounding sense of urgency to reach net-zero commitments, means that “climate tech is likely to produce outsized returns.”

As a seed stage investor, Galileo Ventures is proud to be backing Kite Magnetics in their recent $1.85m cap raise alongside Breakthrough Victoria, Possible Ventures, Investible, and Boson Ventures

Kite Magnetics is producing the world’s highest-performance electric motors that will no doubt play a clear role in decarbonising the aviation industry. As they mature, there is also an opportunity for their electric motor and generator technology to support a wide range of other industries such as cars, buses, boats, and trains.

While research and investment continue to funnel into big-ticket solutions like hydrogen fuel cells and more efficient batteries, the pursuit of lighter more reliable motors remains relatively overlooked. 

We recognise the innovation, vision, and long-term potential of Kite Magnetics, and we are thrilled to be supporting them on this journey, revolutionising the way we fly. 

About the Author
Freelance storyteller specialising in startups, tech and creative industries.
Galileo Ventures

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