Smarter Battery Controls Itself

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

Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart is part of a consortium dedicated to simplifying and integrating components to enhance electric car efficiency.  3Ccar, a European collaborative project, gets its funding from the ECSEL, the Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership Joint Undertaking. 3Ccar’s goal is to develop “Integrated Components for ComplexityControl in affordable electrified cars,” giving them a noble purpose and convoluted abbreviation. Fraunhofer’s mission in the consortium, to provide smart battery cells, looks to be well in hand with the recent announcement of battery cells that contain a “built-in microcontroller that records relevant physical parameters, such as the temperature and the state of charge of the cell—i.e., each cell knows its own condition. The cells communicate …

The Proof is in the Piloting

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

Helicopter flying has been compared to patting your stomach while rubbing your head, something few manage well, if at all.  Imagine trying to not only keep  the rudder pedals, cyclic and collective under control but also fiddling with 18 throttles.  Even a conventional helicopter is a handful with one engine or motor.  Maintaining level flight with multiple lifting points at different points around the central fuselage would add to that level of difficulty beyond most people’s mental processing levels. Luckily, someone at Volocopter has worked out a very clever and quick-witted set of algorithms to take the stress out of that high-risk conundrum, as proven by company CEO Alex Zosel’s recent flight – single-handed and even briefly hands-off.  Heike Blödorn, …

ORNL and Solid Power Sign Lithium-Sulfur Agreement

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Solid-state batteries are becoming the next big thing in energy storage, with the promise of low volatility, high energy density and lower-cost manufacturing.  With academia, industry and government collaborating on the next wave of development, we may see progress in this realm. Recently, the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Solid Power Inc. of Louisville, Colo., signed an exclusive agreement licensing lithium-sulfur materials for next-generation batteries. A team of current and former ORNL researchers including Chengdu Liang, Nancy Dudney, Adam Rondinone, Jong Keum, Jane Howe, Wujun Fu, Ezhiylmurugan Rangasamy, Zhan Lin and Zengcai Liu developed the technology.  This included designing and testing an all-solid lithium-sulfur battery “with approximately four times the energy density of conventional lithium-ion technologies.”  It featured a …

Solar Impulse Down, But Not Out

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

Following its cliff-hangar five-day flight from Nagoya, Japan to Kalaeloa Airport, Hawaii, Solar Impulse is undergoing an extended period of tender loving care, dedicated rebuilding of its battery packs and insightful reflection on how to avoid future issues. Landing July 3, 2015, Pilot André Borschberg broke the world records for distance along a course (6,825.4 kilometers – 4,231.5 miles), Straight distance, and Duration for solar aviation, as well as the world record for the longest solo flight ever (80 hours and 5,663 km. – 3,511 miles), according to the Solar Impulse web site. If all had gone according to plan, Bertrand Piccard would have hopped on board a few days later and headed for the United States on the second leg of the …

Researchers Strike Battery Fools Gold on Two Continents

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

Better, Cheaper, Faster.  That was the mantra when your editor worked in the semiconductor manufacturing world.  Designs, processes and materials were all recalibrated constantly to enable the march toward those three goals.  And to some extent, constant repetition helped us achieve the ideal of Moore’s Law, the dictum that computer chips would double the number of transistors they contained every two years.  Transistor density in computer chips determines the level of performance they can achieve, and this doubling has yet to reach its end. Unfortunately, batteries haven’t doubled in performance every two years, but seem to follow an annual five-to-eight-percent increase in energy density.  This would mean, at best, that energy densities would double every nine years.  The Tesla Forum notes …

Britain Puts an Electric Nose on a New Zealand Carbon Fiber Falco

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

Richard Glassock, an Australian now working in Hungary, has been a presenter at an Electric Aircraft Symposium and received worldwide interest for his eight-passenger, open cockpit sailplane design a few years ago. He writes today to share news about a twin electric motor conversion for a Falco, the great, high-speed craft by Italian Stelio Frati. Originally designed for four-cylinder, horizontally-opposed engines of up to 300 horsepower, the wood airframe was incredibly complex and required thousands of hours to construct. Signor Aldini reported taking 80 hours just to make the main spar’s jig – with four people needed to complete clamping before the glue set. With the increasing difficulty of finding aircraft-grade sitka spruce or aircraft-grade wood craftsmen, those who can replace …

Cambridge’s “Ultimate” Battery? Wait 10 Years and See

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants 0 Comments

Cambridge University researchers claim to have successfully demonstrated how several of the problems impeding the practical development of the so-called “ultimate” battery, in this case a lithium-oxygen unit, could be overcome.  They make some pretty impressive claims, saying they’ve developed a working laboratory demonstrator with “very high” energy density – comparable to that of gasoline and with greater than 90-percent efficiency, and the ability to be recharged more than 2,000 times, or 5-1/2 years with a complete cycle and recharge every day. A lithium-oxygen or lithium-air battery of this type would allow an uninterrupted drive between London and Edinburgh on a single charge, about 415 miles, over 100 miles greater than the top mileages promised by Tesla and GM at …