New Wave of Aviation Innovation in Maryland?

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Maryland jet engine startup raises $1.45M from USM, Abell Foundation

University of Maryland capital invested to take aeronautical concept to reality

Maqbool wave engine 


More Fuel Efficiently


The University System of Maryland (USM) decided to further the entrepreneurial nature of the academic institution and to support the innovative research on its campuses, established the Maryland Momentum Fund (MMF). Dr. Daanish Maqbool, a member of the faculty of Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, has received funding from MMF for new jet technology for which he is the inventor and the University is the owner of the patents pending.[1]

FINANCES: The funding for North American Wave Engine Corporation was organized by the University System of Maryland Momentum Fund and the Baltimore-based Abell Foundation. Each contributed $350,000. Other investors included Gula Tech Adventures, the investment firm of Tenable cofounders Ron and Cyndi Gula, and former Harpoon Medical CEO Bill Niland also contributed funding, according to a release.

The North American Wave Engine Company[2] is developing a wave engine, which is a propulsion machine without any moving parts. Dr. Maqbool’s invention promises to power airplanes more cheaply and more fuel-efficiently than turbines used on most jets today. NAWEC will use UMD’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems test site in St. Mary’s County.




Neither the NAWEC website nor the press release identifies what the technology is, other than “wave engine”. Dr. Maqbool’s PHD thesis at UMD is titled An Acoustic Analysis of Valveless Pulsejet Engines and its precis provides more details:

Valveless pulsejets are extremely simple aircraft engines; essentially cleverly designed tubes with no moving parts. 
These engines utilize pressure waves, instead of machinery, for thrust generation, and have demonstrated thrust-to-weight 
ratios over 8 and thrust specific fuel consumption levels below 1 lbm/lbf-hr – performance levels that can rival many gas 
turbines. Despite their simplicity and competitive performance, they have not seen widespread application due to extremely 
high noise and vibration levels, which have persisted as an unresolved challenge primarily due to a lack of fundamental 
insight into the operation of these engines.

The thesis addressed the tradeoff between noise and performance of different designs. The patents suggest that Dr. Maqbool, UMD and NAWEC have decided on what configuration optimizes those two factors in an economical and environmentally sound manner.

It is propitious that the NAWEC test site is near the US Naval Air Station Patuxent River, known for being on the cutting edge of many aviation advances.

Hopefully, Dr. Maqbool’s invention creates a new wave of aviation innovation.


[1] Systems and Methods for Anti-Phase Operation of Pulse Combustors
Publication number: 20170082067


[2] Curiously, the website is essentially the cover page of this post and no other information.


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