Kryptonite – As in MARVEL Comics?

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

Ed Warnock, CEO of the Perlan Project, passed this on from Michael Coates, head of Pipistrel USA.  Despite its celebrated author and totally credible source, the following press release is open to scrutiny and will no doubt receive some rabid criticism. “Pipistrel ALPHA Electro completes 24 hour flight on a single charge! “The Pipistrel ALPHA Electro aircraft has successfully smashed the world endurance record for electric aircraft by completing its first 24-hour flight on a single charge! “Pipistrel engineers have recently tested different fuel cells and generator units to supplement the ALPHA Electro’s current 1-hour range. “Hugh improvements in electrical generation have unfolded with the recent (2016) re-discovery of Kryptonite in Northern Siberia and under the stepped Pyramid in Egypt. …

Superionic Batteries – Are We There Yet?

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

Tohoku University, near the northern Japanese city of Sendai, finds, in a recent paper, “…The development of complex hydride solid electrolytes that exhibit high ionic conductivity at room temperature will be a revolutionary breakthrough for all-solid-state batteries employing a lithium metal anode.”  Researchers at the University lists the potential energy density for a battery using these so-called “superionic” materials as greater than 2,500 Watt-hours per kilogram “at a high current density of 5,016 miliAmps per gram.   This energy density would result in the fabled 10X battery – ten times the energy density of a conventional lithium-ion battery – that has been the subject of international research for the last decade. Tohoku’s press release states, “Scientists from Tohoku University and the …

Structural Battery Doubles Flight Time

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

Structural batteries, structures which are also their own energy storage devices, are being looked at with increasing frequency.  Your editor has long been a proponent of integrating aircraft structures and the means of generating, storing and releasing energy – something he calls “the Grand Unified Airplane.”  Joe Faust, a hang glider pioneer and designer of energy-gathering kites, put the idea of including batteries in an airplane’s structure into your editor’s mind.  This video from the 1970’s shows Joe was not only athletic and adventurous – he was clean.  His Wikipedia page is even more fascinating. 40 Years Later at Case Western Following Joe Faust’s lead, Case Western professor Vikas Prakash has demonstrated the potential or structural energy storage at model …

Silicone Wrinkles Can Be Beautiful

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

 Hanqing Jiang, a professor in ASU’s School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, has come up with a clever and inexpensive way to fight dendrites in lithium batteries.  Since these spiky little outbreaks can lead to battery fires, his team’s findings might lead to safer batteries.  The approach involves silicone. Many of us put up a (usually futile) fight against wrinkles, our youth culture spending fortunes to avoid the inevitable.  Scientists at Arizona State University, however, are encouraging wrinkles in their lithium-metal batteries, and pouring cheap silicone goo over their anodes to discourage dendrites from popping up. This novel approach to crafting lithium metal anodes for batteries is something Arizona State University scientists are working on, with surprising results.  …

Mixing It Up With MXene

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

Over the years reporting on battery developments, we’ve seen paper batteries, spray-on batteries, structural batteries and many types of material mixes.  Drexel University has tossed all the above intone big hopper and come up with MXene, a potentially dynamic way of making batteries, supercapacitors, antennas, and structural elements that can be conductors, semiconductors, and insulators, among myriad applications. Going Through a Phase MXenes are formed from layered MAX phases, defined by Drexel as forming, “A large family of ternary(composed of three) carbides with the general formula Mn+1AXn, where n = 1–3, M is an early transition metal, A is an A-group element (mostly IIIA and IVA), and X is C and/or N:”  That level of chemistry is two quantum leaps above your editor’s pay grade, so you’ll have …

Is Ionic Propulsion Plausible?

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

Ethan Krauss responds to MIT’s Ionic Flyer Coverage There seems to be great interest in ionic propulsion.  After we published “MIT’s Ionic Flyer – Solid State All the Way,” our editorial offices (otherwise known as your editor’s kitchen) received a comment from Ethan Krauss, who corrected the historical record.  He explains, “MIT was NOT “the first ion propelled aircraft of any kind to carry their power supply, as their video and paper say.  They don’t use less voltage, they are not more efficient, they are not the largest. Size was not the limit in the past.” Click on image to see video of MIT’s first flights. “They are the second in the world to be able to claim that they …

Purdue Flow Battery: Safer, Less Expensive

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Promising enough to catch NBC’s attention, new flow battery technology from Purdue University promises quick refueling and up to 3,000 miles range in the electric car of the future.  If volumetric and gravimetric factors can be brought into line, this could be a useful energy storage medium for future aircraft. John Cushman, Purdue University distinguished professor of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences and a professor of mathematics and partner Eric Nauman, professor in mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, and in basic medical sciences, co-founded IFBattery Inc.  The pair developed a “safe and affordable” patented technology that requires replacing fluids in their battery every 300 miles, and then swapping the anode material every 3,000 miles “taking less time than is needed to do and oil change” and costing about $65.  …

Astigan HALE Flies British Skies

Dean Sigler Batteries, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Ordnance Survey Established in 2014 by Ordnance Survey and private investors to develop and commercialize the UK’s first commercial sub-orbital Earth Observation High-Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS), Astigan is both the aircraft company and product of that partnership with OS. Ordnance Survey produces maps for private, government and business users, including pre-printed print maps and custom charts downloadable to PCs or mobile devices.  These can be as elaborate as items containing “fly-throughs” of requested routes for hiking, biking, driving or even flying trips.  3D modeling enables users to visualize the terrain and essential elements before committing to a flight. Astigan HALE To enable accurate mapping and application development, the team has created a 38-meter (124.7 feet) wingspan, twin-motor high-altitude, very light …

Polyplus and SK Team on Glass-Encapsulated Batteries

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Polyplus, a Berkeley, California-based battery developer, has teamed with SK, Korea’s” first and largest energy and chemical company,“ to produce and test prototype cells to demonstrate increased volumetric and gravimetric energy density and cycle life relative to existing Li-ion cells.”  Just reported,  “The PolyPlus lithium-water battery has achieved the highest recorded energy density of 1,300 Watt-hours/kilogram, or an almost 10x improvement* over current lithium-ion batteries. Polyplus projects the energy density for commercial lithium-air batteries to be 1000 watt-hours per kilogram.”   As with many recent partnerships, the alliance between Polyplus and SK provides “muscle” for the smaller partner.  Polyplus, with 18 bay area employees, will benefit from the far more sizable SK’s financial and managerial expertise.  Between the two firms Polyplus’ 135 …

Fraport And Volocopter Implement Infrastructure

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Helena Treeck, Senior Global PR Manager at Volocopter GmbH, announced that Volocopter and Fraport AG (the managing directorate for Frankfurt Airport) are, “Developing concepts for ground infrastructure and operations required for air taxi services at airports.” A Promising Concept As most of us know from inconvenient experience, getting to and from the airport and fighting our way through the obstacles between us and our assigned seat are frustrating and at times almost demeaning.  Volocopter probably can’t take away the patdowns and the delay in security lines, but it can release us from the traffic jams on the way to and from the airport. Volocopter proposes “Volocopter Ports,” a nest of landing platforms, battery swap stations, and boarding and departure zones.  …