Rechargeable Alkaline Batteries Seem Inherently Safe

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Ionic Materials, A Woburn, Massachusetts-based company, claims to have crafted a battery with an alkaline solid-state electrolyte that successfully resists punctures, cuts and other injuries.  It doesn’t burst into flames like many lithium-based batteries.  In demonstrations, the battery survives 9mm and 25-caliber bullets. A more personal attack takes place with a screwdriver and paper cutter. When a “conventional” lithium battery suffers such assaults, the liquid electrolyte leaks and sometimes causes a short circuit, channeling all the energy into the flammable liquid.  Remember recent hoverboard and airline incidents and a spate of smart phone meltdowns to make you more than a little nervous about the cell phone in your pocket or tablet nearby.  Such thermal runaways on a small airplane are …

Instant Hydrogen?

Dean Sigler Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Researchers at the U. S. Army’s Research Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, announced what they call a “groundbreaking discovery – an aluminum nanomaterial they designed produces high amounts of energy when it comes in contact with water, or with any liquid containing water.” Reportedly “during routine materials experimentation,” the team observed a bubbling reaction when they added water to a nano-galvanic aluminum-based powder.  The rapid and spontaneous hydrolysis of water did not require a catalyst came as a surprise to the researchers. Scott Grendahl, a materials engineer and team leader, explained, “The hydrogen that is given off can be used as a fuel in a fuel cell.”  Unlike most water splitting, this is a one-step process, adding water …

MGM Compro Enjoys Good News in Europe and at Oshkosh

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

MGM Compro is a Czech company that seems to have a motor on half of every light electric airplane flying today.  Their motors have powered Airbus’s electric Cri-Cri (four 15-kilowatt units), the firm’s e-Fan, Ruppert Composite’s Archaeopteryx, e-Volo’s Volocopter, and any number of motorgliders and light sport aircraft buzzing quietly over Europe, and soon, America. Certification in Europe Certification is usually the route to wide acceptance of a new motor, proof that the unit has passed some rigorous tests and is suited for use in aircraft.  As Martin Dvorsky, Managing Director for the firm reports: We are really proud to announce that [the] MGM COMPRO complex propulsion unit just obtained [a] CERTIFICATE OF AIRWORTHINESS issued by [the] Slovak Federation of …

eSpirit of St. Louis Runs at Oshkosh

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

One of the biggest thrills this year at Oshkosh was getting to see Eagle Flight Research Center’s DA-36 run its YASA electric motor.  Eagle Flight, an outgrowth of Erik Lindbergh’s Powering Imagination program he’s been pursuing for the last several years, aims to create quiet electric aircraft that will carry sight-seers over National Parks and Monuments.  Such flights would not disturb people or wildlife below, and would give a Gabriel’s eye view of the most pristine places in our country. International Approval His ideas have met with international support.  As noted on the YouTube video of their meeting, “… Flavia Schlegel (Assistant Director-General (ADG) for the Natural Sciences) at UNESCO in Paris… gave an enthusiastic endorsement of our eSpirit of …

2017 Green Speed Cup – Airplanes More Frugal Than Priuses

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The Green Speed Cup, held every year except for 2016 since 2011, is measure of an airplane’s efficiency, using a formula from the competition’s web site.  “The scoring will be very simple. The aircraft that flew with the best ratio of fuel-consumption per distance and speed will win the competition. The scoring of each competitor will be related to the winner. The winner gets 1000 points for one day.” According to Robert Adam, one of the organizers of the Cup, “We had a fantastic Green Speed Cup (and rightfully but reasonably prods your editor for not covering the results sooner.)  Luka Znidarsic from LZ Design won with his “front electric sustainer” Ventus glider. He had to close the gap between battery …

Dallas Finds Seoul Brothers in Battery Development

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A “novel” manganese and sodium-ion-based material might be a contender for the more universal lithium-ion batteries that power our mobile devices and make us mobile in electric vehicles.  Developed by the University of Texas at Dallas in collaboration with Seoul National University, the new material is said to offer “a potentially lower-cost, more ecofriendly option to fuel next-generation devices and electric cars.” Dr. Kyeongjae Cho, professor of materials science and engineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, thinks battery cost is a “substantial issue.”  It may become more of one with electric vehicle production growing from the existing global electric car stock of two million vehicles in 2016 to a projected nine-to-20 million (as reported by the …

What We’re Looking Forward to at AirVenture 2017

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

We’re looking forward to seeing progress in electric aircraft, and this year may be an opportunity to see real breakthroughs. Two from Pipistrel Besides its regular lineup of high-quality aircraft, Pipistel will have two Alpha Electro trainers on display in their display area.  This is the first time these aircraft will be seen in America, and they’ll be at the right of AirVenture’s main entrance gate in sites 86 and 87. In the Ultralight Area Mark Beierle will display and fly Bravo, Richard Steeves’ e-Gull.  This red, white and blue gem features a power system made from Zero Motorcycle components and boasts an impressive rate of climb and exceptional short field capabilities. Another ultralight, the EMG-6 developed over the last …

Zunum Designs Electric Power Trains with a Software Approach

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Zunum is a startup electric airliner firm, helmed by former leaders in aerospace, electronics and software companies.  It’s no surprise, then, to see their design and manufacturing efforts following a path that blends those disciplines. Aviation Week reports Zunum just received an $800,000 matching grant from Washington State’s Clean Energy Fund, “its size proportionate to funding already raised from Boeing HorizonX and JetBlue Technology Ventures.”  It’s also the second largest of five such awards.  Zunum CEO Ashish Kumar describes the grant as, “a significant amount, a significant endorsement and a significant investment at a national level in electric aviation” that “supplements funds from out-of-state sources and will go toward prototype building.” Zunum presses forward on an aggressive schedule, with plans to certify its …

Geely Looks Skyward, Buys Terrafugia

Dean Sigler Batteries, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Geely is a huge enterprise, and while not the largest maker of electric cars in China, sold 766,000 gas and electric vehicles in 2016, growing 50 percent over the previous year.  Its profits grew 126 percent last year, primarily due to sports utility vehicle (SUV) sales.  As EV Obsession reports: “The 351,861 electric car sales registered in China during 2016 represent approximately 46% of ALL plug-ins sold worldwide this year, with Chinese carmakers responsible for 43% of all EV production in 2016.” Geely, surprisingly, owns Lotus, Malaysia’s Proton Motors, the firm that makes London’s iconic taxis, and Volvo.  Volvo just announced that all its cars will be electric or hybrid starting in 2019.  Fortune reports that the company has become highly …