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 …

A L.E.A.P. Forward for Electro.Aero

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Heady Ambitions Joshua Portlock, Co-founder, Director and Chief Technology Officer for Electro.Aero in Perth, Australia, has a heady set of ambitions.  He and Rob Belaga presented a simple electric vertical takeoff and landing machine, FlyKart, at two different symposia in northern California two years ago, and presented a refined version for the Boeing GoFly competition shortly thereafter.  They’ve made it to the finals of the $2,000,000 contest and will be in the February, 2020 flyoff. In the meantime, he’s started a flight training program using Pipistrel’s Alpha Electro trainer, and is partnering with an almost bewildering  set of industry, government and academic leaders, including Ampaire, Bye Aerospace, E/S/Aero, NASA, Pipistrel, University of Western Australia, and Zero Emissions Vehicles Australia.  Joshua …

OXIS Energy, Bye Aerospace Develop Lithium-Sulfur Cells

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Diane Simard, Senior Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors for Bye Aerospace, sends your editor occasional news from that company.  The latest involves a collaboration with OXIS Energy in England to develop new Lithium-Sulfur battery cell technology that shows great, and (even better) near-term promise. Ready to start in September, the project will develop cells that will, ”Achieve the higher energy density required for such aircraft,” referring to Bye’s eFlyer 2 and eFlyer 4 light aircraft.  A big jump over currently available batteries, OXIS is now evaluating cells that produce 400 Watt-hours per kilogram, with a promised leap to 500 kW-hr by next year.  The best lithium-ion cells at the pack level available now manage 260 …

Tecnalia Aerotaxi Levels with Reasonable Goals

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Tecnalia, a Spanish technology and engineering firm, presented its Aerotaxi at the Paris Air Show this year.  The company demonstrates a way to make automated flight a little less perturbing to the anxious public, keeping the platform on the straight and level during all phases of flight.  It does this with four gimbaled sets of four propellers, which do all the pivoting and changes of angle while leaving the passenger compartment in a constant plane.  This should do a great deal to calm the reluctant flyer. Tecnalia adds, “Joseba Lasa, one of the people responsible for the development, explained that “the main novelty of Tecnalia’s aircraft lies in the fact that the architecture allows the cabin to maintain its orientation …

EJ-1, A Circle of Power

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Consider encircircling yourself with a ring of tiny electric motors turning a collection of well-coordinated thrusters.  Electric Jet Aircraft of Anderson, Indiana showed off their vehicle, claimed to be the world’s first wearable electric jetpack – the EJ-1, at Oshkosh, Wisconsin during this week’s AirVenture air show.  A 16-motor, battery-powered rig that weighs around 100 pounds, depending on the battery pack, it’s made to fly several feet off the ground while carrying a 200-pound pilot. The product of 13 years of preliminary design and innovation, the aircraft was test flown before its introduction at the Urban Mobility Showcase at the show.  Composed of four “JetPods,” modules of four electric motors and associated controllers that produce 80 pounds of thrust each, …