2X Battery Going Commercial?

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

We would love to see a 5X or even 10X battery in our future, but that will happen, quite possibly, at the speed of an eight-percent increase per year, as demonstrated for the last several decades of battery development. That would mean waiting for about 10 years for battery energy densities to double.  What if we could double energy density right now, as in starting commercial production of a battery with 2X the energy density of those currently available? Solid Energy Systems, led by MIT alumnus Qichao Hu, has announced it is ready to hit the market in the next year.  According to MIT News, “SolidEnergy plans to bring the batteries to smartphones and wearables in early 2017, and to …

Frogworks Unleashes Delta – the World’s Lightest Electric Paraglider Trike

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

Students at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have a history of creating ultra-lightweight flying machines that are also green – floating around on electric power.  Their earlier effort, Snowstorm, a 24-rotor, single-person lifting device, so far has hovered only indoors. Eight engineering students, working within the school’s “Frogworks” program, have escaped into the great outdoors with their Delta, the world’s lightest electric paraglider – according to the school. With two eight-kilowatt electric motors, four 14S lithium polymer battery packs, and tricycle landing gear, the Delta weighs in at 49 kilograms (107.8 pounds) empty weight.  Delta can carry a 75-kilogram (165 pound) pilot.  Cleverly constructed of carbon fiber and aluminum, the craft is claimed to be “the lightest aircraft in …

Even with Batteries, Paul MacCready Was Right

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Paul MacCready repeatedly urged us to do more with less, getting big results from modest use of materials.  That philosophy may be upheld yet once again by researchers from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) Institute of Soft Matter and Functional Materials. As reported here many times, people like Dr. Yi Cui at Stanford University, researchers at MIT, the Fraunhoffer Institute in Germany and many others are attempting to find the magic combination of ingredients that will allow us to transcend the weight penalty we currently trade for payload in heavier-than-desired electric aircraft. Scientists at the HZB, led by  by Prof. Matthias Ballauff have directly observed for the first time a lithium-silicon half-cell during its charging and discharge cycles.  Dr. Beatrix-Kamelia …

Battery 500 Consortium – A Budget Program with Potentially Big Payback

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The federal government is creating yet another round of incentives to “spark” development of “significantly smaller, lighter and less expensive batteries.” A consortium of researchers led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will receive up to $10 million a year over five years to perk up battery performance, with the goal of creating a 500 Watt-hour per kilogram battery pack, about three times that of currently available commercial offerings.  The new batteries should be “reliable, safe and less expensive,” according to consortium director and PNNL materials scientist Jun Liu.  Research will come from partners nation-wide, including: Brookhaven National Laboratory Idaho National Laboratory SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Binghamton University (State University of New York) Stanford University University of California, San Diego …

Graphene Supercapacitor Shows Promise and Longevity

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Materials, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A forever battery would be nice, wouldn’t it?  Something low cost that could be recharged in seconds, time after time, indefinitely, and be about as environmentally sensitive as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club combined – there’s the ideal battery. That might seem like a miracle, and it relies on that miracle material – graphene – for its many astounding properties to help make this flexible battery a reality. Dr. Han Lin of Swinburne University in New South Wales, Australia has 3D printed his prototype battery at a much lower cost than with previous production techniques.  The immediate “take” on this material is that it could be used in things like watch straps, powering the attached timekeeper, or in (inter)active sports …

Want to See a Big Tesla Fly?

Dean Sigler Batteries, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Teslarati, the forum for Tesla fans, includes a fascinating concept for an electric/jet airliner, as proposed by Peter Egan, a web-site member from Artarmon, New South Wales, Australia.  His proposal could be applied to smaller jet airliners in anything up to the Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 class. He uses a Bombardier CJR1000 100-passenger regional jet for his example, and shows a large motor pod-elevator replacement on each side of the fin, with counter-rotating propellers on either side of the rudder.  (Whether this arrangement would be aerodynamically or structurally sound remains open to investigation.)  His concept drawing includes the existing General Electric-CF34-8C5A1 turbofans for comparison, but they would be removed. The GE engines put out 13,630 pounds (60.6 kiloNewtons) of …

Kreisel Brothers – Austrian Entrepreneurs

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 4 Comments

We keep hoping for the long-awaited 10X, or even 5X battery that would make electric aviation “pop” in a significant way.  The Kreisel brothers in Austria are not developing new batteries or chemistries, but through careful design and manufacturing techniques, manage to reduce weight in their battery packages – one example being the two “ultra-lightweight battery units” they supply for PC-Aero’s Elektra One.  With a total weight of “just 64 kilograms,” (140.8 pounds), the packs “provide [an] efficient and reliable energy supply for a range of 400 kilometers (248 miles)… a flight duration of three hours [and a] speed of 160 kilometers per hour (99.2 mph).” Each pack stores 5.8 kilowatt-hours of electrical energy, or 5.52 kw-hr./kg.  That’s roughly an …

Siemens 260 kW Motor First Flight, and a Siemens at the 2016 SAS

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

Siemens Motors announced the first public flight of their SP260D motor in an Extra 330LE aerobatic aircraft – although the motor had made its maiden, but not so public, flight on June 24.  Putting out 260 kilowatts (348.5 horsepower) in near silence according to Siemens, the motor will certainly be capable of putting the Extra through its paces. The motor weighs only 50 kilograms (110 pounds), and with its Siemens inverter adds little weight to the nose of the Extra.  Pipistrel-designed battery packs grouped behind it push the power-pack weight toward the center of gravity, which should enhance handling qualities. As Electronics Weekly reports, “Support structures have been on a finite element analysis diet. The aluminum ‘end shield’, for example, …

Pikes Peak 2016 – A Record-Setting Year

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

Electric vehicles did not win the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb outright this year, but their overall showing was an indicator of how much progress designers have made in the last five years. Everyone’s a Winner! In 2011, Chip Yates rode his UQM-powered motorcycle to a record 12:50.094 time.  Part of the 12.42-mile course was dirt road then, adding to the thrills, but slowing overall times. “I felt bad for the fans that watched me through the dirt section. They saw an electric superbike going 1 mph around the hairpins in the dirt.”  He added this declaration, “We got a 12:51 time, I’ll take it, it’s plenty good for a rookie, and it’s plenty good for a home-made bike …

Kokam Introduces Bullet-Proof Battery

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Lithium battery puncture tests have provided many time-wasting moments on YouTube, presenting pyrotechnic displays in many versions.  Most are explosive and fiery examples of what is referred to euphemistically as “rapid deconstruction.” What if a battery could take a bullet and still offer superior energy, power and reliability?  Kokam answered this question for the military, showing that its new NANO battery technology “do[es] not experience thermal runaway when… shot,” according to a June 13 announcement. Intended “for the defense industry for use in submarines, support vehicles, armed fighting vehicles, and unmanned systems,” the battery combines three lithium-ion chemistries – Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP), Lithium Titanate Oxide (LTO) and Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) – into a single battery, Battery University explains …