A World Distance Record Without Recharging?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 0 Comments

The headline reads, “EV breaks record with 1,003-km run,” but that might be a little misleading. The Kyodo News reported the following about an astonishing run made with a Daihatsu electric vehicle. “A Tokyo civic group said Sunday it managed to get an electric car to run 1,003.184 km (about 622 miles) without a recharge, shattering its own world record from last year.” “The Japan Electric Vehicle Club said it will ask Guinness World Records to officially recognize the journey, which was completed at a racing course in Shimotsuma, Ibaraki Prefecture, as the world’s longest. The vehicle, powered by Sanyo Electric Co.’s lithium-ion battery system, ran for about 27 1/2 hours until around 2:30 p.m. Sunday (actually May 22 to 23, …

Spider Webs and Slime Mold – Nature’s Networking Genius

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 0 Comments

As aircraft become more electrified and integrated in their operations, even light airplanes are turning to networking system such as ARINC AFDX and CANBUS to link their different operational elements (See “An LSA With the Electric Heart of an Airliner, May 24, 2010).  The ability to sustain failure or damage in any one element without disrupting safe operation of other subsystems or the aircraft itself becomes a primary consideration. During the Electric Aircraft Symposium’s Friday evening dinner sessions, Dr. Svetlana Poroseva of Florida State University’s Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS) presented a four-minute rundown on her efforts to find a network topology that provides the necessary reliability and robustness to allow power systems or naval vessels in combat, for …

Solar Impulse Soars on Sunlight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Andre Borschberg, CEO of the Solar Impulse Project, had this to say after he landed following the seventh flight of the Airbus-sized solar craft – but the first using its solar panels for power. “It was like a first encounter with the sun. After I had turned on the solar panel I could see the energy reserves increasing although the engines were continuously consuming power. Never before in my 40 years as a pilot have I experienced anything like this.” Martin Reichlin reported on the excitement of going solar on May 28’s second flight.  “A few minutes ago we could follow by radio how André switched on the four sectors of the round about 200 square meters of solar panels …

Twice Around London – Without Recharging

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 0 Comments

On May 27, Imperial College students driving their electric race car around the M25 orbital road that cirles London looked more like ninja thieves (because of headgear that protected them from early morning breezes) headed toward a convenience store than serious test drivers, but their mission was far more benign than their appearance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MkZlb29ge8 Their mount, a white and green two-seater that looks more destined for LeMans fame than for ecological breakthroughs, was the RGE (Racing Green Endurance) based on a Radical Sportscars SR8 chassis. Its power comes from two Evo-Electric motors each with a motor controller, propelled by a Thunder Sky 56 kWh battery pack and monitored by a National Instruments CompactRio unit which combines management of the motor control …

The Electric-Powered Aircraft, A Sequel

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 1 Comment

David Ullman, a professor at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, author,  and owner of his own consulting firm, Robust Decisions, has published part two of his article, “The Electric Powered Aircraft,” that first appeared in Kitplanes’ October 2009 issue (see our October 18, 2009 entry, “Hear the Hum?  Kitplanes Does”) .  You won’t have to rush to the nearest bookstore for the sequel, since this is online in the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Experimenter.  A great deal of the Experimenter is fired up with speculation and skepticism about electric aircraft and their feasibility in the current issue, including an editorial by Patrick Panzera, long-time engine guru and editor of the e-zine.  A great many of the readers’ comments have a “not ready for …

An LSA With the Electric Heart of an Airliner

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC 9 Comments

Stephan Boutenko, Alternair President and founder, seeks a Light Sport Aircraft alternative, an airplane looking like an LSA, but loaded with features that will allow it to keep pace with the rapidly changing options coming to electric flight. Inspired by Yuneec’s E-430 but disappointed by its slow cruising speed, Boutenko was determined to create something more in line with LSA performance criteria. He also wanted to take advantage of the knowledge he had gained from years of experience with heavier aviation to create an integrated system that would allow flexibility and expandability in the development of his airplane. Unabashedly conventional in appearance, the low-wing, tricycle geared monoplane is conceived to make a pilot transitioning from an internal combustion powered machine …

CAFE News: Doctors Seeley and Ford Stand and Deliver

Dean Sigler GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

At the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium, April 23 and 24 at Rohnert Park, California, two CAFE leaders provided the audience with superb presentations on CAFE Foundation’s history and future goals. Dr. Larry Ford, Vice President of the organization, led with highlights from CAFE’s past, including the scientific efforts to measure aircraft drag and provide actual numbers for comparing aircraft performance, a goal inherent in the CAFE name. He highlighted the work of many past and present CAFE volunteers (after all, CAFE is all volunteer, and a 501c.3 charitable organization promoting aeronautical research at both the grass roots and the highest levels), including the CAFE Barograph, a significant instrument that allowed objective flight performance characterization of individual aircraft and honest …

Need Electricity? Go Fly a Kite

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 0 Comments

What do JoeBen Bevirt and Benjamin Franklin have in common?  They both grew up without electricity and built kites to find it.  While being without electricity was the default condition in Franklin’s day, JoeBen was raised in a hippy commune in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Neither man found the deprivations of his youth to be an impediment to creativity.  The phrase that keeps popping up in articles about JoeBen Bevirt, founder of Joby, inc. and Joby Energy, is “inveterate inventor.”  Inveterate has the sense of growing old in one’s habits, something unlikely to happen to a truly inventive soul such as JoeBen.  Deviser of a knobby-looking grip that can be fastened to almost anything, and which can hold cameras, lights, and …

Putting The Human in Human Factors

Dean Sigler GFC 0 Comments

Part of the Green Flight Challenge is the provision of adequate human factors design in the cockpit of the projected airplane. One can only design in so much ergonomic and safety-minded concern for the pilot and passengers. The ultimate human factor is indeed human, a topic Dr. Key Dismukes handled quite ably at the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium. As noted in his NASA resume, “Dr. Dismukes is Chief Scientist for Human Factors in the Human Factors Research & Technology Division at NASA Ames Research Center (CV ). His current research addresses cognitive issues involved in the skilled performance of pilots, their ability to manage challenging situations, and their vulnerability to error. Among the topics investigated by his research group …

Take a Powder, Get Empowered

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 0 Comments

Höganäs AB, a major Swedish specialist in powdered and sintered metals, has created a bicycle motor as a low cost, light weight, high performance unit for the Asian market. According to Höganäs Group CEO Alrik Danielson, “We chose the bicycle motor as a first application when introducing our new motor concept. The bicycle motor is very challenging, in terms of performance as well as cost, but we are confident that we have a unique product. It is lighter than other electric motors and in the e-bike it has a good range, up to 75 kilometres, thanks to high efficiency.” He sees the modular design as being adaptable to other applications, such as “scooters, other light weight electric vehicles, pumps, fans …