P3 – Different Consulting for a Different Industry

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

P3 is a new and different type of consulting service for a new and different kind of industry – electric aviation.  Consulting businesses usually manage to help others manage fairly conventional and well-traveled projects, limiting their practice to advising on how to meet budget and project timelines.  These are valuable insights that can help technical gurus overcome business issues, or management teams understand new technology. But what happens when a whole industry is exploring new paradigms, shaping new world views and delving into areas that did not exist a short time before?  One consulting firm that did not exist before 1996 is making inroads into that unexplored territory.  A spin-off from RWTH University in Aachen, Germany, P3 started with a …

Surefly – A Pickup and a Pick-Me-Up

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

We’re experiencing a myriad of multi-rotors lately, mostly in the vertical lift on demand, sky-taxi  category.  Workhorse, a company specializing in electric vehicles, has introduced the Surefly, an eight-rotor, hybrid-powered two-seater with actual pilots in mind.  Workhorse will reveal the aircraft at the Paris Airshow on July 19, possibly filling in the blanks for the internal-combustion engine and electric motors on the machine. The company started with an award-winning conversion of a Pontiac Sky and has leapfrogged into the creation of unique electric vehicles.  These include not only Surefly, but  a hybrid pickup truck, a hybrid medium-duty step van useful for local deliveries, and Horsefly – an eight-rotor drone capable of delivering 10-pound packages.  Horsefly is launched from the step …

Another Combined Motor-Controller System

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Compact Dynamics, a German electronics firm associated with MAHEPA, the green aviation consortium, has developed two types of electric motor-controller combinations adaptable to aeronautical use.  Their Dynax® Transversal flow machines and Dynadyn® Radial flux drives integrate power electronics with the motor. Their Dynax MGi25-48, one of two lower-power motor-controller combination, is rated at 25 kilowatts (33.5 horsepower) maximum power at 58 Volts, and 20 kW continuous output.  The small motor can generate an impressive 75 Newton-meters (58.3 foot pounds) of torque from its 14 kilogram (30.8 pound) heft.  Even with its controller mounted atop, the full motor package is only 318 millimeters (12.5 inches) high, and 233 mm (9.17 inches) deep.  The motor itself is only 107 mm (4.2 inches) …

MAHEPA, Modularizing the Approach to Clean Flight

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Pipistrel, itself flying pure electric and hybrid aircraft, has announced its participation in MAHEPA, a Modular Approach to Hybrid-Electric Propulsion Architecture.  MAHEPA aims to,” reduce the gap between research and the production of low-emission propulsion technologies that would enable the achievement of environmental objectives in the field of aviation by 2050.”  Mahepa’s first meeting, held May 15 and 16 at Pipistrel’s headquarters at Ajdovscina (Slovenia), helped define the direction for a major academic/industry project. Led by the aircraft manufacturer, in cooperation with Compact Dynamics, DLR (Germany’s equivalent of NASA), the University of Ulm, H2Fly, Politecnico di Milano, TU Delft and University of Maribor, project goals are impressive. – “To boost research in the field of low emission propulsion technology to …

Efficient and Cheap Catalyst for Water Splitting

Dean Sigler Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

University of Houston physicists think they may have overcome the last hurdle to generating abundant hydrogen, a fuel that is as elusive as it is clean.  Their new catalyst, “composed of easily available, low-cost materials and operating far more efficiently than previous catalysts,” could solve at least one of the problems associated with generating and storing H2. Jeannie Kever, writing for the University newsletter, reports Paul C. W. Chu, TLL Temple Chair of Science and founding director and chief scientist of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH and colleagues physicists Zhifeng Ren and Shuo Chen, have created a catalyst “Cost-wise… much lower and performance-wise, much better.”  The quote comes from said Zhifeng Ren, M.D. Anderson professor of physics and lead …

Toyota Hopes to Light Olympic Flame with Flying Car

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Cartivator, a startup with seemingly boundless energy and endless ideas, hopes to use its Skydrive single-person “flying car” to light the Olympic flame in 2020.  The compact vehicle, claimed to be the smallest flying car in the world, is a tricycle which can traverse roads efficiently.  When confronted by hazards or traffic jams, it can lower its propeller guards and hop over the inconveniences along the way. Cartivator Resource Management (CRM) describes itself as “mainly young engineers and venture parties” volunteering, “To carry out the development of the flying car” with the aim of lighting the torch at the Tokyo Olympic Games and Paralympic Games opening ceremony of 2020.  The team pledges, “We will work to accelerate the further technology …

EMBATT – an Embedded Battery that combines Structure and Energy

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Imagine a battery that reduces the overall number of structural parts in an electrical vehicle and the volume taken up by the battery.  That’s the concept behind EMBATT (chassis embedded battery), which functions as structural energy storage.  It can cut the volume occupied by a battery in half, with serendipitous outcomes for lightness and structural efficiency.  This is similar to NASA-backed research on cubesat walls that also function as energy storage structures. IAV is a German firm that provides consultation and partnerships with leading automotive companies.  It specializes in synergistic concepts and system-level thinking.  The company, working with Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden, and Thyssen Krupp System Engineering ,“Want[s] to use our experience from automotive …

A Swan among the Ultralights

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation, Uncategorized 0 Comments

At this year’s Aero Friedrichshafen, Modern Wings showed off their Swan Ultralight, a nicely packaged machine that can fly on either fossil fuels or electricity.  Of course, we’ll feature the electric version here. The Swan E115-22 is an electrically-powered airplane of 115 kilograms (253 pounds) empty weight powered by a 22-horsepower motor.  That empty weight puts it solidly into U. S. FAR Part 103 territory and SSDR (single-seat deregulated) requirements in Great Britain, and a 120 kilogram (264 pound) version complies with Regulation 120 in Germany.  Maximum takeoff weight is 300 kilograms (660 pounds), heavier than the 524 pounds Part 103 allows, and possible legal depending on how local FAA inspectors view batteries as part of empty or total weight. …

Not a Goldschmied Fuselage, but Still Wonderfully Low Drag

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

Following your editor’s blog entry on the Prandtl wing and erroneously named Goldschmied fuselage, he received this correction from Dr. Brien Seeley, President of the Sustainable Aviation Foundation and one of the creators of the body in question. “However, it is, I think, important to note:  We did not fabricate a Goldschmied body and it is incorrect to refer to ours as one. Ours is original, unique and it does not at all rely upon Goldschmied’s annual suction approach (aft boundary layer treatment). A Goldschmied body studied at Cal Poly is shown along with a link to its 205 page study.  It differs by having a pointed nose and sharp convergence at the rear annular inlet to create the concave …

Qinetix Motor at E-Flight Expo

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 3 Comments

QinetiX GmbH in Germany manufactures a motor and controller combined in one case to lower weight and simplify installation.  Their QPD-40, shown at the Aero Friedrichshafen E-Flight Expo and on their web page, seems to exemplify those goals.  Its 12 kilogram (26.4 pound) weight and 40 kilowatt (53.6 hp.) output gives it a power-to-weight ratio of 3.2 kilowatts per kilogram (2 horsepower per pound). Running on 60 Volts at a maximum 680 Amperes, the motor produces 212 Newton-meters (156.4 foot-pounds) of torque, swinging a propeller at only 1,800 rpm, allowing for quiet operation.  The liquid-cooled stator and power electronics will require some form of heat exchanger, but probably with fairly low cooling drag overall. Only 90 millimeters (3.54 inches) thick …