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The ecstasy of innovation

Lithium Australia’s recent newsletter reports on the Rolls Royce Spirit of Innovation project. Rolls Royce Motors, the Spirit of Ecstasy ornament that has adorned its vehicles since the early 20th century was, and is, a symbol of energy, elegance and beauty.

One hundred plus years on, it seems Rolls-Royce, the legendary aero-engine manufacturer (now an entity in its own right), is embracing a similar ethos with The Spirit of Innovation, a platform designed to smash the all-electric aircraft speed record. Scheduled to become airborne in Great Britain in 2020, the novel concept craft will reach a speed of 300 miles per hour, possibly more, making it the fastest all-electric plane ever.

A monumental undertaking, it’s part of a Rolls-Royce initiative known as ‘ACCEL’ (‘Accelerating the Electrification of Flight’). If the company’s plan succeeds, it will parallel their success during the 1931 Schneider Trophy, when a Rolls Royce-powered Supermarine racer smashed speed records for powered flight and led to the development of the most successful fighter aircraft of the era – the Supermarine Spitfire.

More conservatively, Rolls-Royce is also collaborating with Airbus and Siemens to develop the E-Fan X hybrid plane, in a move designed to propel electrically-powered commercial aviation into the future.

The latest edition of The Power of 3 is a précis of those and other recent advances in electric aviation. You can find it, and previous issues of the newsletter, on the Lithium Australia website.

Lithium Australia is facilitating evolution in the sphere by developing high-performance cathode powders for the next generation of lithium-ion batteries, at its VSPC plant in Brisbane, Australia.