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 …

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 …

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 …

Long Hours of Droning On

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Several different organizations are trying different ways to keep unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs, up longer.  We’ll look at three recent efforts in long-endurance missions, each with a unique technological approach. Wirth Research – Hydrogen Fuel Cell Wirth Research is now constructing a new tilt rotor, Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL), hydrogen fuel cell powered, advanced terrain-mapping drone.  Carrying a payload of sensors and onboard data processing capabilities, the vehicle will be powered by a complete H2 storage, control and power system provided by HES of Singapore, a specialist in ultra-light hydrogen fuel cells. The Wirth machine’s missions range from precision agriculture, to pipeline and cable inspection for utilities, surveillance and other security-related tasks, through to detection and monitoring support …

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 …

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 …

Uber Elevate Summit Announces Sky Taxis by 2020

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

A scad of news about electric aircraft hit the internet and newsstands last week.  Even USA Today reported on the Uber Elevate Summit in Dallas, Texas – held with many of the participants in the 2017 Sustainable Aviation Symposium a few days before. Big news came from Uber’s announcement that it intends to offer electric VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) air taxi service in Dallas and Dubai by 2020.  Bigger news for SAS participants is that it is partnering with Pipistrel and Aurora Flight Sciences, both presenting at the San Francisco event.  Jeff Holden, Uber’s chief product officer, said Bell Helicopters, Brazil’s Embraer, and Mooney Aircraft would also provide “concepts and technologies” for the near-term launch. According to Aviation Daily, …