A 24-Volt Airplane Motor?

Dean Sigler Batteries, Biofuels, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

One of the big surprises in last month’s webinar hosted by the EAA and presented by Brian Carpenter of Rainbow Aviation Services/Adventure Aviation was the 24-Volt motor being developed for the EMG-6 ultralight motorglider. High and Low Voltages Many, if not most of the electric motors flying on existing craft are higher voltage units.  For sake of an off-handed definition, we’ll divide low and high at below and above 50 Volts, something OSHA delineates in its regulation 29 CFR 1910.303(g)(2)(i), which “generally requires “’live parts of electric equipment operating at 50 volts or more’ to be ‘guarded against accidental contact by use of approved cabinets or other forms of approved enclosures’ or by other specified means.”  In its explanation, the …

First motor Test Run for Equator P2

Dean Sigler Batteries, Biofuels, Diesel Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

The Equator P2 is a hybrid amphibious two-seater that looks like the future.  Under development for a decade, this amateur-built machine looks highly professional, surpassing in form and function many of its factory-built peers.  It had its first motor run-up recently, a much-anticipated event that met all expectations. Looking Like the Future, Built in a Garage One can see the garage-built home of the craft in the simple bracing used to hold the tail-mounted motor in place, an example of the truly hand-made nature of the Equator prototype.  The rudimentary surroundings fail to show the sophistication of the design, however, including a power system similar to that used on the range-extended e-Genius. Progress over the last nine years has been …

Making Silicon Anodes in Large Batches

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

A Long-term Collaboration Dr. Jaephil Cho is a well-known battery researcher and inter-continental associate of Dr. Yi Cui of Stanford University.  The pair has collaborated on many ways to improve battery performance and longevity, and both have appeared at various electric aircraft symposia.  They have even inspired others in related research. Dr. Cho and his team at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea announced a way to make a new generation battery anode material – a big move toward mass production of improved cells. Dr. Cho’s team of researchers affiliated with Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), South Korea, claims to have made yet another step towards finding a solution to accelerate the commercialization …

A First Electric Helicopter with a Humanitarian Mission

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Brammo, one of the first American electric motorcycle makers, established itself as an early competitor in racing, and after less than a decade in the new arena, sold the motorcycle racing enterprise to Polaris Industries Inc.  “Following that announcement, Brammo confirms its exclusive agreement to supply its electric powertrains to Polaris for inclusion in motorcycles and other on-road and off-road vehicles.”range of vehicle OEMs.” From Motorcycles to Helicopters Surprisingly, that range of vehicle OEMs includes a successful electric helicopter launch. According to the Portland Business Journal, “Brammo lent its expertise to a Tier 1 Engineering launch of a battery-powered manned helicopter last month. The launch included the first hover taxi and a record five-minute cruise flight to 400 feet altitude.” …

HY4 Makes First Public Flight – Your Editor Rides EAA’s Ford Trimotor

Dean Sigler Batteries, Fuel Cells, GFC, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

A day after Pipistrel, the DLR and associates flew the first public demonstration of their four-seat hydrogen-powered HY4, your editor and a friend took a brief hop around the Aurora State Airport in Oregon in EAA’s Ford Trimotor, the first certified airliner in America.  The two events, roughly equal in duration, if not in historicity, demonstrate a readily observable progress in aeronautics. A quickening of design and technology 14 years after the Ford 5AT first flew on a scheduled route that took 51 hours total time to cross the United States (and split transport duties with trains), your editor’s father was whisked nonstop by Army Air Corps C-54 across the Atlantic to Shannon, Ireland, and then to Bobbington and Newquay, England …

Buckeyes, Venturi VBB-3 Set Records on the Salt Flats

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

Take a venturesome electric car developer like Venturi, a Monaco-based firm, and put them together with an enthusiastic group of Ohio State University engineering students.  Exciting things happen. The Buckeyes have tried their hands at racing in many venues.  Their first outing in the 2013 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Zero gained them a third place finish – followed by another third place outing in 2014, and their tour of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this year took a mere 11 minutes and 16 seconds, good enough for third place.  They also race in the Formula SAE competition, putting their open-wheel, high-performance cars up against those from 110 other colleges and universities. Turning their eyes from the curves of …

e-Genius Flies with a Range Extender

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

Stuttgart to Barcelona Dipl-Ing* Ingmar Geiß, Deputy Project Manager for e-Genius with the Institute of aeronautical engineering at Stuttgart University shared the news that e-Genius flew with its range extender for the first time on September 15.  He notes that while the battery-powered airplane can manage trips up to 300 kilometers (186 miles), the hybrid engine/generator pod will enable flights up to 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).  This would equal a trip from Stuttgart to Barcelona, Spain, according to the e-Genius web site. As the school explains, “With [the] e-Genius hybrid most flights of a typical user case can be done in the cost and energy efficient battery mode – for all longer flights the range extender can be used. Generator …

Dr. Joseph Kallo, DLR See a Hydrogen Future

Dean Sigler Batteries, Fuel Cells, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Speaking at the first annual Sustainable Aviation Symposium at the Sofitel San Francisco Bay on May 6, 2016.  Dr. Joseph Kallo focused on hydrogen as a more than potential fuel for future flight.  He stressed that H2 fuel development was further along than one would think, and shared several examples to promote that thought. A Busy Man, a Storied Airframe Dr. Kallo is DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt – German Center for Air and SpaceTravel) Coordinator of Electrical Aviation for Germany’s equivalent of NASA, oversees work at the DLR Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics, which has worked with Pipistrel in Slovenia to convert the Green Flight Prize winning Pipistrel G4 to the hydrogen-powered HY4. He’s also Institute Director at the …

An “Ideal” Battery That Looks Like a Sandwich

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Sandwich structures are common in aircraft, combining high stiffness, light weight, and structural strength.  Could such a structure be useful in enhancing energy storage?  Pennsylvania State University researchers think they’ve answered that question in a positive way. Sandwich-like Structures as Energy Storage Materials The blog has examined the possibilities inherent in incorporating batteries and supercapacitors into structures, but making the battery itself a sandwich structure could leave it as a discrete component within an electric vehicle, or lead to its being adapted as a full structural element.   Penn State University materials scientists have achieved the goal of making a “polymer dielectric material with high energy density, high power density and excellent charge-discharge efficiency for electric and hybrid vehicle use.”  Their …

Solar Impulse 2 Batteries – Better than We Thought

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

What happened to Solar Impulse 2’s batteries on those long five days and nights over the Pacific?  It took months of enforced downtime in Hawaii to have new batteries made, sent from Korea, installed, tested, and flown again.  Could the plane have completed the flight on the original batteries? Kokam, manufacturer of the airplane’s cells, has released new information that provides details of the drive system and relieves a few lingering anxieties.  An over-riding concern was that batteries overheated on the Japan to Hawaii part of the mission, topping out at 50 degrees Centigrade (122 degrees Fahrenheit) – above their design temperature.  Your editor has thought deeply about what Andre’ Borschberg must have gone through every day of the five …