Breakthrough Batteries Two Years Away?

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

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 …

Air Race E Leaps Forward with Eight Teams

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

The public got a glimpse of Air Race E at this year’s Dubai Air Show.  Jeff Zaltman, CEO of Air Race E and Sandra Bour-Schaeffer, head of XO Airbus Demonstrators, pulled the wraps on Team Condor’s converted Cassutt racer – one of eight teams entering the fray.   Race E is an update of the classic small aircraft races held following World War II, and many of the airplanes in the upcoming events will be re-motored and redesigned versions of these craft.  Formula 1 racing has not changed much since its 1947 inception. Most air small air racers relied on the Continental C-85 engine, mildly uprated and turning faster than it did in Aeronca Champions or Piper Cubs.  Formula E …

Solid State Lithium Sulfur and Lithium Selenium Batteries

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Materials, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

In battery making, recipes for electrolytes play an important part of the whole.  In a new formula whipped up by Zhengzhou University, Tsinghua University and Stanford University, Lithium (Li), Lanthanum (La), Zirconium (Zr), Tantalum (Ta), and Oxygen (O) form a ceramic tube as the battery’s electrolyte.  This tube is centered in new solid state Lithium Sulfur and Lithium Selenium batteries. Researchers filled that tube with a liquid lithium electrode, and immersed the tube in a bath of carbon black and liquid selenium or sulfur in a stainless steel container. The team’s paper, “High Energy-Density Solid Electrolyte-Based Liquid Li-S and Li-Se Batteries,” published in the October 15 edition of Joule, explains the new batteries should be capable of delivering energy densities …

The Villiger Traveler Updated

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Urs Villiger flew his Traveler TR230 four-seat touring craft about 10 years ago.  He started revising the Cessna-like vehicle two years ago, turning it into a more aerodynamic and economical machine.  His changes turned the Traveler into a hybrid aircraft and relocated the propeller to the vertical stabilizer. Reflecting professor Dipl.-Ing. Rudolf Voit-Nitschmann’s configurations he developed for Icare II and  e-Genius, the low-drag placement of the drive motor near the top of the vertical fin confines the added drag caused by the propeller’s acceleration of air over the aircraft’s skin to the top-most part of the fin and rudder.  Compare the area exposed to propeller blast to that of a conventional nose-mounted engine “tractor” type aircraft. On static display at …

SAS 2019 – Gabriel DeVault’s Clean Commute and Electric Adventures

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

An electric ultralight developer brought some hopeful notes to the Sustainable Aviation Symposium audience at the University of California Berkeley.  Gabriel DeVault is the powertrain development specialist for ZeroAvia, bringing hydrogen power to regional air commuting.  He does a lot of commuting in his own electric aircraft, showing that one doesn’t need huge investments in aircraft and infrastructure to enjoy green flight. The Paul MacCready Honorary Lecture: Doing More with Less, Right Now! An Aerospace Engineer and EV systems architect, Gabriel was a founding member of Zero Motorcycles, running R&D for the world’s largest and most successful electric motorcycle company.  He now works for ZeroAvia, a firm in Hollister, California working with a hydrogen-powered electric Piper Malibu as the first …

Charging Carbon Dioxide Batteries and Clearing the Air

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

We would love to find ways to reduce carbon dioxide as a threat to our climate with an ever-decreasing timeline for accomplishing that task.  University of Illinois at Chicago and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have made inroads into creating a carbon dioxide battery that uses CO2 as an energy storage component. Amin Salehi-Khojin, associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at UIC’s College of Engineering, explains, “Lithium-carbon dioxide batteries have been attractive for a long time, but in practice, we have been unable to get one that is truly efficient until now.” A 7X Battery The incentive to use CO2 comes from lithium-carbon dioxide batteries having a specific energy density more than seven times greater than conventional lithium-ion cells.  …

Scylax E10: Electric Flight Over the North Sea

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

A joint venture between the East Frisian FLN airline (FLN FRISIA-Luftverkehr GmbH Norddeich) and Munich aircraft manufacturer Scylax GmbH has helped expand the success of two “clean-sheet” designs, the E6 and E10.  Both are promised to China Blue Airlines, and their first-time sale to a German-based airline will help ensure economies of scale for production. Short Runs with no Range Anxiety FLN already operates 10 BN-2 Norman Britten Islanders and a few Cessna 172s and 182s.  The Islanders would be replaced over time by E10s.  As one can imagine, The North Sea and limited airports make special demands on aircraft, including being able to take off and land in 300 meters (984 feet) and manage 40 knot (46 mph) crosswinds , as …

Solid Power Batteries – Headed for Production?

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

So often, promising developments in batteries, solar cells, and electric vehicles seem stuck in the “five years from now” limbo.  Perhaps there may be hope that a current, real-time development is before us.  MSNBC reports Solid Power has a pilot production line for its solid-state batteries up and running – as of three days ago. Forgive the sound track, which can be turned down or off.  The information is worthwhile, however. Solid Power, a 2012 outgrowth of research performed at the University of Colorado Boulder, now holds down 21,000 square feet at the Colorado Tech Center.  Their web site expresses some of the frustration many of who have been waiting through the last decade feel about the near-static trend in …

Electric Flight for the Masses

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Paracas, Peru lies on the South American country’s Pacific coast, halfway between Ecuador and Colombia to the north and Chile to the south.  There, Alex Ferrer has built a Super Goat ultralight glider and powered it with a Chinese motor, controller and batteries for electric flight.  Since he displays in-flight data on his videos, one can get an appreciation of the small amount of energy required to keep a very light machine like the Mike Sandlin craft in the air. Sandlin makes plans for his gliders available for free on line.  Excellent drawings with high-grade details, they enable a committed craftsman the ability to use simple hand tools to make a glider that one can carry atop a compact car …

The Prieto Battery Receives Affirmation

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Dr. Amy Prieto created her namesake battery a decade ago, and has been seeking funding and other support for its development ever since.  It gained such funding from Stanley Ventures in 2016.    Prieto Battery, as reported by GreenCarCongress.com then, is, “A company commercializing a 3D Lithium-ion battery technology (earlier post), announced a strategic investment from Stanley Ventures, the venture arm of Stanley Black & Decker, a world-leading provider of tools and storage, commercial electronic security and engineered fastening systems.” Possibly more important that money, Dr. Prieto’s battery recently received third-party validation of its claimed safety and performance attributes from Energy Assurance, LLC.  GreenCarCongress reports, “Specifically, Prieto had a group of fully assembled batteries containing their proprietary 3D anode tested against an …