SAS 2019: IBM Battery Research with Dr. Jangwoo Kim

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Dr. Jangwoo Kim has a resume’ that puts a great many qualifications together that spell “battery designer.”  He has a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Yonsei University, one of three “Sky Universities” regarded as South Korea’s most prestigious.  At Cornell University, he received M. S. and Ph.D degrees in chemical engineering, and then worked for LG Chem on lithium-ion battery pack design.  After that, he returned to Cornell to work on his Ph.D, investigating “next-generation rechargeable battery technology, including Li-Air and Li-Sulfur, specialized in inorganic nanomaterial synthesis and polymer processing via an electrospraying method.”  He joined IBM Research, Almaden Research Center in 2016 and participated in the Battery 500 project, aiming to build a battery pack with a specific energy …

A Joyous Boxing Day Electrified

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Boxing Day is a holiday unique to the British Empire, a day-after Christmas gift-giving celebration in which the well-off gave gifts to their servants. Yahoo Entertainment explains, “While there is some dispute over what the name actually means, it’s commonly believed that Boxing Day refers to the habit of aristocratic employees gifting their servants or tradesman on Dec. 26 as a thank you for their work throughout the year. The employers would give them each a box to take home to their family with gifts, bonuses and leftover food. “Samuel Pepys, a naval administrator and Member of Parliament, is famous for writing in his diary in 1663: ‘Thence by coach to my shoemaker’s and paid all there, and gave something …

ACCELL: A (Mostly) British Coalition Going for 300 MPH

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Rolls-Royce is perhaps the epitome of Britishness, going back to 1904, when Henry Royce, founder of a successful mechanical/electrical business, met Charles Rolls, a successful car dealer in London.  Together, the founded the company which came to be known as Rolls-Royce.  By 1906, their Silver Ghost was known as “the best car in the world.”  That quality was inherent in their first aircraft engine, the Eagle, “providing some half of the total horsepower used in the air war by the allies.”  It provided the power in 1919 for the first direct flight across the Atlantic and the first flight from England to Australia – both in Vickers Vimy aircraft.  This led to racing success, with early V-12 engines by R-R …

Help Promote Electric Aviation

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Beth Stanton, an aerobatic pilot and superb writer (you can read her articles in Sport Aviation), shares the following action item.  Readers are invited to comment to the FAA by December 31.  Your comments could have a big effect promoting electric flight, especially in flight training.   “Progress on affordable electric training is happening!  “Joseph Oldham, director of the Sustainable Aviation Project (SAP) asked me to pass this information along – “The SAP petition to the FAA for exemption to operate 4 Pipistrel Alpha Electro Aircraft with the issuance of a Special Light Sport Aircraft airworthiness certificate to conduct flight training is now posted for public comment: “https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/12/09/2019-26468/petition-for-exemption-summary-of-petition-received-cities-of-mendota-and-reedley-california   “Comments must be received by 12/30/19.   “The progress of the …

Amprius, Airbus, Silicon and Batteries

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Batteries are a tough study.  We see many different roads being traveled in attempts to reach the Nirvana of the lightest, most powerful energy storage cell ever.  We see continuing shortfalls because of the much chemistries that seem never to work out as hoped.  Several recent articles, though, showed links that forced your editor into a deep study of battery developments first heard about a decade ago.  These involved Yi Cui, Stanford professor and battery guru, silicon electrodes, and a new electrolyte that holds thing together.    Presaging recent developments, your editor first heard Yi Cui present at the 2009 CAFE Foundation Electric Aircraft Symposium.  Then, he predicted, based on the theoretical limits for silicon-based electrodes in batteries, that we would …

Electric Beaver Flies in Vancouver, B. C.

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Residents of Vancouver, B. C. were not awakened by the overhead passage of a DeHavilland Beaver Tuesday morning.  The electrically-powered floatplane lifted off at around 8:30 a. m. and zipped by quietly, its Magnix motor humming and only its four-bladed propeller disturbing the air.  The full-flight video below has the airplane “taxiing” for the first four minutes. Harbour Air took the daring step of publicly test flying an old but spiffily refurbished airplane with a new motor, the paint scheme revealing the location of all major electrical components.  Even more daring, Greg McDougall, founder and CEO of Harbour Air piloted the flight.  Talk about faith in your product. Engine/Motor Swap The Beaver’s original Pratt & Whitney R-985 engine produced 450 …

Austrians, Swiss, Chinese Launch Three New Electric Aircraft

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Three companies with divergent backgrounds launched three new electric aircraft in the last few months. 1973, and Its Descendants are Still Electric As noted in the blurb for its historic YouTube video for its first electric flight 46 years ago, “HB Flugtechnik is the pioneer in electric flight. The world’s first electric powered flight took place on October 21st, 1973 in Austria. 50 years later this company is still in business and doing better than ever. Given, that we talk about the aviation business, this is an outstanding and remarkable achievement. Today, HB Flugtechnik located at the now newly refurbished airfield Hofkirchen LOLH is not only the major MRO (Maintenance, Repair Organization or Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) for aircraft in …

Stimulating Simulations – Air Racing on Screen

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Tony Bishop reports on The Royal Aeronautical Society’s International Light Aircraft Design Competition, which provided stimulating simulations for on-screen air racing. The 2019 RAeS competition was to design an electric air-racer, inspired by Air Race E’s new competition starting up in 2020. With a single pilot and short duration, this is an excellent proving ground for new electric power train technologies. According to the RAES, “The design rules were based on Air Race E, but widened to encourage a broader range of configurations. Air Race E rules include a minimum empty weight of 227 kg, a maximum motor power of 150 kW, fixed pitch propellers, a minimum wing area of 6.132 square meters and a fixed main undercarriage. Air Race …

First Lindbergh E-flight Rally

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The Lindbergh E-flight Rally coinciding with Friedrichshafen’s annual Aero Expo will explore the growing capabilities of these amazing machines.  The Lindbergh Foundation invites owners of electric aircraft to gather two days before the opening of Aero Expo 2020 to fly over the scenic marvels of Germany, alighting on Expo opening day “around 11 a.m., just on time for the AERO press conference.”   The hoped-for en masse arrival would highlight the number of electric aircraft now flying and their reliability.  Organizers explain, “Like the first ultralight aircraft did then, the first electric aircraft today need to prove that they already function perfectly.” The two-day aerial cortege would fly “along Lake Constance, and past castles, palaces, and churches, to a first …

Breakthrough Batteries Two Years Away?

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Breakthrough Batteries: Powering the Era of Clean Electrification A paper by Charlie Bloch, James Newcomb, Samhita Shiledar, and Madeline Tyson of the Rocky Mountain Institute describing the near future of battery development predicts and accelerated pace of “the global energy transition” and the growing role of energy storage in “addressing the climate crisis.”  Will these “breakthough batteries” power us into the near future? Their report* notes the economic investment and potential impacts of ongoing research, which to this editor seems minor when compared to the gravity of the ongoing climate crisis.  Researchers estimate “more than $1.4 billion invested in battery technologies in the first half of 2019 alone,” less than 10 percent of the $16 billion spent in 2016 on …