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 …

Two Multi-Rotors Half a World Apart

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

New Atlas (formerly Gizmag) alerted your editor to this web site, which in turn features over a score of YouTube videos on this fascinating project in Sweden.  Axel Borg has created, as promised by the web site, an Amazing DIY Project, flying around a hilly woodland on the power of 76 electric motors. Undaunted by Fuel Fumes or Crashes More amazing, perhaps, he tried this configuration a year ago with eight internal combustion engines (extremely noisy), but managed to crash that.  Resisting the fear that would instill in queasier souls (your editor, for instance), Axel made four tubular rings, within each of which is mounted a set of 19 motors.  The four rings surround the pilot’s seat, under which are …

ONERA’s AMPERE Flies on Distributed Electric Thrust

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

ONERA’s mission statement for its AMPERE (Avion à Motorisation réPartie Électrique de Recherche Expérimentale) electric aircraft is fairly straightforward.  “AMPERE is a demonstrator of a regional airplane with electric propulsion distributed, allowing to transport from 4 to 6 people over 500 [kilometers – 310 miles] in 2 hours.  The objective of the AMPERE project is to bring to maturity the technology of distributed electric propulsion in order to transfer it to the industry.”  ONERA, the Office National d’Etudes et de Recherches Aérospatiales (National Office for the Study and Research of Aerospace) is the French equivalent of NASA. ONERA showed a one-fifth-scale model of AMPERE at the Paris Air Show last week, with spokesman and designer Jean Hermetz holding forth on …

Airspace X MOBI Wants toTake Back Our Lives

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Airspace X decries the thought that “Traffic is taking over our lives.”  It lists three concerns: the 42 hours urban commuters sit in traffic per year; the 1.9 billion gallons of fuel wasted due to road congestion; and the $1,400 wasted per driver per year due to traffic.  Its solution, an electrically-powered four-seat commuter vehicle called MOBI.  The e-VTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) machine, introduced at the Uber Elevate Summit on April 27, lays claim to being able to fly its passenger at rates equal to an Uber Black ride. According to NBC News, Uber Black “town car” style trips are usually longer than “standard” rides, in a shortlist of approved vehicles – the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Cadillac …

Full-Spectrum Solar-Generated Hydrogen

Dean Sigler Hydrogen Fuel, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Osaka University researchers have created a new material based on gold and black phosphorus to produce clean hydrogen fuel using the full spectrum of sunlight.  Most solar apparatus used in “water splitting” rely on materials such as titanium dioxide.  These are limited to obtaining energy from the ultraviolet (UV) part of the solar spectrum, however.  The rest of the spectrum is wasted. Osaka’s team “developed a material to harvest a broader spectrum of sunlight,” using a three-part composite.  The different parts maximize absorption of light and enhance the efficiency of the unit for water splitting.  The core, a “traditional” semiconductor of lanthanum titanium oxide (LTO) is coated with tiny nanoparticle specks of gold.  The gold-covered LTO is then mixed with …

Volocopter, Dubai Sign Autonomous Air Taxi Agreement

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dubai, already having penned a similar agreement with China’s eHang, will start test runs of autonomous air taxis in 2017 with the Volocopter. Volocopter’s Eventful Year Volocopter has had an eventful year, introducing its latest model, the 2X, at this year’s Friedrichshafen Aero E-Flight Expo and opening its new corporate headquarters.  Now, it looks forward to demonstrating its craft in regular service.  e-Volo writes, “Our vision becomes reality: Dubai’s government “Roads and Transport Authority” (RTA) has signed an agreement with us regarding the regular test mode of Autonomous Air Taxis (AAT) in the emirate. The test will start in the fourth quarter of 2017, and the project has been scheduled to run for five years.” The Volocopter 2X, according to …

EViation Electric Aircraft: Demanding Disruption

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

Aviation Week reports from the Paris Air Show on a “disruptive” entry in electric aviation.  Eviation, founded by Omer Bar Yohai, is primed to deliver a change in transportation as we know it.  Yohai says, “The dominant solutions available today are deeply flawed and demand disruption.” The company’s promotional video only hints at the company’s intentions.  Their vision statement on their web site, though, indicates a skyward aspiration: “Making electric aviation the fast, competitive and clean answer to on-demand mobility of people and goods.”  Aviation Week’s Noam Eshel quotes Bar Yohai as saying, “We design, test and build the tools that will enable future of regional transit by air, changing consumers’ perception of both distance and time.  Five years from …

Look Up and Say Cheese!  Autonomous Mapping from the Elektra One Solar

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Had the residents of Landshut, a 13th-century city in Lower Bavaria, chanced to look up at the right time over the last few weeks, they might have glimpsed a bright yellow shape looking back at them.  Calin Gologan’s latest Elektra One Solar carries a suite of cameras that can transmit 2D movies in 4K resolution to a ground station up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) away.  Through sophisticated software, the images can be translated into 3D maps with a resolution of five centimeters (just under two inches), the primary mission of the flights. Partner ViaLight, a 2009 spin-off of the DLR (the German Aerospace Center), provided the hardware and software that allows up to 100 Gbps (gigabits per second) data …

Batteries Following Roads Less Taken

Dean Sigler Batteries, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.  Yogi Berra Technology and new products continue to enhance the development and realization of electric and solar aircraft.  Two approaches to batteries, both of which explore roads less taken, have some promise for aircraft use. Shine Some Light on It What if your battery could be recharged just by exposing it to light?  A team of South Korean researchers, affiliated with UNIST (Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology) has developed a single-unit, photo-rechargeable portable power source based on high-efficiency silicon solar cells and lithium-ion batteries (LIBs).  Rechargeable under solar or artificial light, the unit could power other electronic devices, “even in the absence of light.” Professor Sang-Young Lee and …