Electric seagliders Skimming Coastal Waters

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REGENT seaglider Skimming the Waves WIGs are Wings in Ground Effect, a type of flight that keeps one just above the sea’s surface.  Simplified, when a wing is at an altitude less than its span, it operates in a ground effects cushion that adds lift.  According to backers of REGENT’s seaglider, such a craft can skim the waters in low-level flight while providing transport cheaper and quicker than water-borne alternatives. CNN reports, “…a Boston-based start-up backed by some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent investors wants to turn the sea lanes along the country’s east and west coasts into high-speed transit corridors.” The firm identifies their company name as an all-caps, proper noun acronym – Regional Electric Ground Effect Nautical Transport.  …

Group 14 Gets a Push from Porsche

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We covered Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s visit to the Group 14 Technologies battery plant in Woodinville last year.  Now the Group is getting attention from Porsche, among other funders.  The startup company announced raising $400 million from investors including the Teutonic automaker. According to Reuters, part of those funds will be used to build a second battery materials plant in eastern Washington State.  The company is now valued at over $1 billion, money which will help expand battery materials production for the silicon-lithium cell market. Silicon is a desirable material in batteries, capable of storing more energy than lithium or other metals.  It has a major drawback, though.  In expanding and contracting during charge-discharge cycles, it eventually deteriorates, crumbles, and …

Big Money for Battery Research

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With war in Ukraine threatening European and even American oil supplies, many nations are scrambling to develop and deploy cleaner sources of energy.  That’s where the U. S. Department of Energy may have a large part in backing big money for battery research.  $3.1 billion in funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), “will support the creation of new, retrofitted, and expanded commercial facilities as well as manufacturing demonstrations and battery recycling.” Batteries get Billions, Big Oil Gets Trillions One sometimes wonders why the governments of the world subsidize Big Oil as much as they do.  Big Oil has created the wealthiest corporations since the Roman Empire.  First-world nations spend a tremendous amount of their wealth in extracting, …

British Craft eKub

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A Proper British Aeroplane eKub is the latest offering from The Light Aircraft Company (TLAC), a British company that specializes in modern adaptations of classic-themed flying machines.  At nearby Cranfield University, Dr Guy Gratton, Associate Professor of Aviation and the Environment, teaches and acts as test pilot on the eKub.  Gratton is also an Associate Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. TechXplor reports, “After taxi tests and “low hops,” the single seat Sherwood eKub made its first flight of 10 minutes and then a second flight later in the day of 22 minutes from Little Snoring airfield in Norfolk.” He can’t seem to get enough of the little ultralight single seater, posting a Tweet showing his takeoff in …

Antares, FES, and AdvanTec Create E-ROP Hybrid

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E-ROP is a multi-party program using an Antares self-launching sailplane.  FES and Adventec have crafted a hybrid version of the Antares 20e with a front electric sustainer (FES) motor in place of its tall mast-mounted motor.  An incremental program, E-ROP begins by replacing the retractable unit with an FES motor on the nose.  This reduces the drag created by the motor being raised into position and simplifies operation. The FES Antares flew for the first time on April 19 with Klaus Ohlmann at the helm.  Ulrich Bronet recorded this short video. Under development since 2016, E-ROP will benefit from an advanced battery package from research partner AdvanTec GmbH.  According to the project, “The concept provides for batteries in the fuselage and …

Cementing Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)

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Cement, a prime component in concrete, is a major source of the greenhouse gas CO2, according to the Princeton Student Climate Initiative (PSCI). The group reports, “Cement is made by firing limestone, clay, and other materials in a kiln. CO2 is emitted from the energy used to fire the material, and the chemical reaction produced from the mixture when it is exposed to heat. According to the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, each pound of concrete releases 0.93 pounds of carbon dioxide. Since concrete is such a widespread item, the amount of CO2 released in the industry continues to grow.” Cleaning Up the Process How can cement makers reduce their contribution to global warming and make sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)?  …

Sky Taxis, Eviation Featured on TV News

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60 Minutes and The Today Show have recently featured sky taxis and future electric airliners on their broadcasts.  This is big news in that such transport is getting recognition in popular media, and even somewhat of a fair hearing.  Even though references to the Jetsons are common in such reports, both these excursions seemed to be less wide-eyed, biased, and skeptical than most. Lift Hexa Although LIFT’s Hexa is featured prominently in publicity for the show, Wisk’s CEO is featured in this promotional piece.  “We’re excited to share that we’ll be on this weekend’s episode of @60Minutes on @cbstv! Be sure to tune in as our CEO, Gary Gysin, sits down with @AndersonCooper to talk about the future of #mobility!” …

Multicopters Growing Wings

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eHang and Volocopter are growing wings on their eVTOL (electric Vertical Take Off and Landing) craft.  It’s a demonstrable fact that fixed wing aircraft usually have great range and endurance than rotary wing aircraft.  What if we combine the best of multicopter utility and fixed wing range? Electric multicopters are usually short-range vehicles that have a possible future in urban skies (although Joby has demonstrated over 150 mile flights).  The requirement that they lift off from buildings or constrained areas contributes to their short range.  Hauling all those batteries and passengers is a near-full power exercise every time, with reserve power enabling climbs to low-altitude city crossings. Proposed longer-range sky taxis from two makers are sprouting wings.  eHang and Volocopter …

A Hybrid Structural Battery

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Is it possible to combine the best features of batteries and supercapacitors to get both enduring energy storage and bursts of power?  Batteries, to varying degrees can store energy and release it over time.  Supercapacitors can provide instant, but short-lived power.  Even more challenging, can can we form a hybrid structural battery, combining form with function?  University of Central Florida researchers think they’ve answered those questions with a battery-supercapacitor hybrid material that could form “power suits” for electric vehicles. Improving on an Earlier Idea This blog first reported on structural batteries 12 years ago, examining the efforts of Volvo and Dr. Emile Greenhalgh of Imperial College London. Several approaches have been made to create a structural battery, but the “power suit” …

An Italian Hybrid Seagull

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An Italian trimaran light seaplane has many interesting features.  From its hybrid power system to its unique patented folding wings, the Novotech Seagull showcases innovation. Professor Leonardo Lecce has taught aeronautical structures and aerospace construction and maintenance practices at the Federico II University in Naples. Why the choice to limit the craft to marine operations only?  La Republic explains Seagull “allows two people to fly from any coastal location to another, doing without hydroscales and hydroports now non-existent, thanks to a revolutionary technology already patented, of an automated system folding of the wings that allows once moored (landing at sea), to reach and dock in any quay or dock. But also to bring this aircraft ashore in the garages as …