5X Lithium Sulfur Battery with a Gut Feeling

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation, Electric Aircraft Materials, Batteries Leave a Comment

Bio-mimicry presents itself in aerodynamics, from the emulation of soaring bird’s wing shapes on sailplane’s surfaces to owl-feather-like trailing edges on wind turbines.  We don’t often think of biological equivalents in energy storage (your editor didn’t until now, at least).  But researchers at Cambridge University in England and the Beijing Institute of Technology in China have turned to the small intestine for their breakthrough in battery development. Tiny cells lining the human intestine inspired these researchers to develop a prototype of a lithium-sulfur battery that they claim could have five times the energy density of conventional lithium-ion batteries.  Dr. Paul Coxon from Cambridge’s Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy says “This gets us a long way through the bottleneck which …

slash burning

Gleaning the Forests for Jet Fuel

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation, Biofuels, Announcements Leave a Comment

Three congresspeople flew on wood-waste fumes this week, aboard an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 on its way from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEATAC) to Washington, DC.  It was the first commercial flight to “to be powered by a blend of renewable jet fuel made from forest residuals.” Waste Products Replace Fossil Fuels Alaska, Boeing, and SEATAC have partnered on including biofuels in the mix since early 2015, as reported here.  Later that year, United made flights out of Los Angeles International (LAX) using a blend of fossil-based jet fuel and biofuels made from farm and municipal waste.  Keeping waste out of landfills and producing a lower carbon-footprint fuel has several benefits.  In the case of forest waste, those branches, limbs and …

EMG-6 side view with motor - still within Part 103 limitations, according to Brian Carpenter

A 24-Volt Airplane Motor?

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation, Electric Powerplants, Biofuels, Batteries, Hybrid Aircraft 1 Comment

One of the big surprises in last month’s webinar hosted by the EAA and presented by Brian Carpenter of Rainbow Aviation Services/Adventure Aviation was the 24-Volt motor being developed for the EMG-6 ultralight motorglider. High and Low Voltages Many, if not most of the electric motors flying on existing craft are higher voltage units.  For sake of an off-handed definition, we’ll divide low and high at below and above 50 Volts, something OSHA delineates in its regulation 29 CFR 1910.303(g)(2)(i), which “generally requires “’live parts of electric equipment operating at 50 volts or more’ to be ‘guarded against accidental contact by use of approved cabinets or other forms of approved enclosures’ or by other specified means.”  In its explanation, the …

Pipistrel, Sino GA Sign Memorandum of Agreement

Dean Sigler GFC, Sustainable Aviation, Hybrid Aircraft, Announcements Leave a Comment

China has over one billion, four hundred million people.  Slovenia has a little over two million.  This population disparity has not kept Pipistrel d.o.o. Ajdovscina and Chinese company Sino GA Group Co. from signing a Memorandum of Understanding for a long-term joint-venture in the field of light and general aviation in the regions of China, East Asian countries and the Asian Pacific region. Pipistrel, led by General Manager Ivo Boscarol, has built many airplanes in its 27-year history (including over 800 of its Sinus/Virus series), and earned plaudits for its clean manufacturing and ethical management.  It has led in development of electric motorgliders, an electric training aircraft, and a high-performance hybrid cruiser.  It won the Green Flight Challenge in 2011 …

equator 34 view

First motor Test Run for Equator P2

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation, Diesel Powerplants, Biofuels, Batteries, Hybrid Aircraft Leave a Comment

The Equator P2 is a hybrid amphibious two-seater that looks like the future.  Under development for a decade, this amateur-built machine looks highly professional, surpassing in form and function many of its factory-built peers.  It had its first motor run-up recently, a much-anticipated event that met all expectations. Looking Like the Future, Built in a Garage One can see the garage-built home of the craft in the simple bracing used to hold the tail-mounted motor in place, an example of the truly hand-made nature of the Equator prototype.  The rudimentary surroundings fail to show the sophistication of the design, however, including a power system similar to that used on the range-extended e-Genius. Progress over the last nine years has been …

Larry Page’s Flying Car(s)?

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation, Hybrid Aircraft Leave a Comment

A3 backed by Airbus, EHang 184 from China, and Zee from Larry Page (head of Google) – Silicon Valley seems an unlikely source of aeronautical breakthroughs, but several entrepreneurial outings from Airbus, Chinese startups, and Zee.Aero, led by a secretive Larry Page, have interest growing.  A pair of recent flights by Zee’s craft in Hollister, California have generated coverage – and speculation. Larry Page’s Two Companies It turns out Page has a second company, Kitty Hawk, taking yet another path toward electrified flying cars with something like a large quadcopter – not unlike the eHang 184.  Neither Zee.Aero nor Kitty Hawk is affiliated with Google, both funded out of Page’s largesse.  One theory is that his two companies, the first …

Making Silicon Anodes in Large Batches

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation, Electric Aircraft Materials, Batteries Leave a Comment

A Long-term Collaboration Dr. Jaephil Cho is a well-known battery researcher and inter-continental associate of Dr. Yi Cui of Stanford University.  The pair has collaborated on many ways to improve battery performance and longevity, and both have appeared at various electric aircraft symposia.  They have even inspired others in related research. Dr. Cho and his team at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea announced a way to make a new generation battery anode material – a big move toward mass production of improved cells. Dr. Cho’s team of researchers affiliated with Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), South Korea, claims to have made yet another step towards finding a solution to accelerate the commercialization …

A First Electric Helicopter with a Humanitarian Mission

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation, Electric Powerplants, Electric Aircraft Components, Batteries 2 Comments

Brammo, one of the first American electric motorcycle makers, established itself as an early competitor in racing, and after less than a decade in the new arena, sold the motorcycle racing enterprise to Polaris Industries Inc.  “Following that announcement, Brammo confirms its exclusive agreement to supply its electric powertrains to Polaris for inclusion in motorcycles and other on-road and off-road vehicles.”range of vehicle OEMs.” From Motorcycles to Helicopters Surprisingly, that range of vehicle OEMs includes a successful electric helicopter launch. According to the Portland Business Journal, “Brammo lent its expertise to a Tier 1 Engineering launch of a battery-powered manned helicopter last month. The launch included the first hover taxi and a record five-minute cruise flight to 400 feet altitude.” …

Ten teams began competition, not all finished.  It's tougher than it looks

Getting Blood from Outback Joe – the 2016 Outback Challenge

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation, Electric Powerplants, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Aircraft Components, Hybrid Aircraft Leave a Comment

Outback Joe goes through a lot of trauma in his overstuffed life.  This literal straw man gets tossed into some remote part of the Australian outback every year and waits for some kind of rescue.  This usually comes by air, drones searching for him and taking him medicine, food, water, or some other necessity.  That’s the Outback Challenge. One can see a condensed history of the competition from its inception in 2007 to today on Wikipedia, the entry including the different kinds of things Outback Joe needed for a mission to be successful. This year, however, competitors were supposed to bring back a reminder of their visit to Joe – a blood sample – a good trick from an inanimate …

Brian Carpenter’s EMG-6 Webinar

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation, Electric Powerplants, Announcements Leave a Comment

Brian Carpenter, designer of the EMG-6 motorglider which he’s shown over the last several years at AirVenture, will stage a webinar to discuss “the design and development concepts of this new electric motorglider.”  His talk will have special “Emphasis on the integration of the electric propulsion concepts that he believes will change the face of the light aircraft and ultralight industry.” Your editor has visited Brian’s Corning, California workshop several times, and always found new and innovative approaches to producing a low-cost, self-launching motorglider, with several ways to simplify construction and to power the craft.  It will be interesting to see progress on the newest motor (apparently still under development) Brian has presented on his web site. He has been …