Farm and Municipal Waste to Bio Jet Fuel

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

United Airlines has united with two partners, AltAir Fuels and Fulcrum BioEnergy, to fly on sustainable alternative fuels.  Think of each flight being cleaner, using what formerly were unusable, land-fill-bound waste products, and certain to make United more sustainable, and flights less costly. Earlier efforts at producing biofuels relied on converting food, such as corn, into fuel, an uneconomical process that raised food prices and often used more energy than it produced in ethanol, for instance.  This was not sustainable and didn’t allow economic benefits for its users, so fell into disrepute quickly. Organizations like the United Nations spoke out against taking grains from the poorest among us to make fuels for jetsetters.  In their 2009 report, UNEP, the United …

EAS IX: Aurora Flight Science Set Records without Pilots

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

John Langford, CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences, has been demonstrating autonomous aircraft for years – a fact he has shared with Electric Aircraft Symposium audiences several times.  This year he gave a brief history of Aurora, starting with the Sunlight Eagle, an adaptation of the Michelob Light Eagle, a human-powered aircraft that preceded the most successful long-distance flight by an HPA – the Daedalus with a 76-mile trip over the Mediterranean. The 2009 craft was originally powered with bicycle-like pedals and still holds four world records for human-powered flight. For its two test flights at Las Cruces International Airport, the pedals were replaced with solar panels, an electric motor, a high-performance battery, and a flight control system.  Even with all …

Carbon Fiber, Batteries and Clean Air from CO2

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Creators of a one-step process called STEP (Solar Thermal Electrochemical Photo) claim a world of benefits, including pulling carbon dioxide from the air and turning it into useful things, such as fuels, cement, and cheap carbon fiber.  The process can also purify and desalinate water, according to many of the 300 peer-reviewed papers by Dr. Stuart Licht of George Washington University and his graduate students. The elevator speech regarding their research can be found on the home page for the group.   “A new fundamental solar process has been introduced.  STEP efficiently removes carbon from the atmosphere and generates the staples needed by society, ranging from fuels, to metals, bleach and construction materials, at high solar efficiency and without carbon dioxide generation. …

Three Races Going Electric – or at Least Hybrid

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Three major automobile and motorcycle races are adapting electric or hybrid power, and seeing winners in all categories.   The three take place in the month of June every year, making the month a showtime for innovation and a demonstration of incredible driving skills. Isle of Man Perhaps the most dangerous of all events, the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy motorcycle race covers 37 miles on public roads running through countryside and villages.  Over 200 riders have been killed on the course since the first race in 1910.  This doesn’t discourage over 100 riders from qualifying every year and hitting top speeds near 200 mph.  The winning gasoline-powered superbike this year averaged 128.749 during its six laps around the island. By …

Diamond Hybrid Drive – One Engine, Two Motors

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Diamond aircraft seem to have been the go-to choice for electrification, with Boeing and Airbus fielding different versions powered by an array of powerplants.    In 2008,Boeing’s fuel cell-powered craft, a DA-36 Dimona motorglider, “was modified by [Boeing Research and Technology Europe] (BR&TE) to include a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell/lithium-ion battery hybrid system to power an electric motor coupled to a conventional propeller.”  Airbus’ 2011 DA-36 “E-Star’s” propeller was powered by a 70kW electric motor from Siemens, with electricity supplied by a small Wankel engine from Austro Engine with a generator functioning solely as a power source.  In 2014, Airbus showed an improved version of this craft at the Paris Air Show.  Erik Lindbergh chose the Diamond HK-36 for …

EAS IX: Additive Manufacturing Parts Flying on Airbuses

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Scott Sevcik, Aerospace and Defense Business Development Manager for Stratasys, gave EAS IX participants a look into the most advanced aircraft manufacturing techniques currently available, and what might be possible in the near future. Traditional manufacturing techniques have relied on subtractive techniques, starting with an aluminum billet, for instance, and sawing, filing and sanding away anything that doesn’t belong on the finished part.  Anyone who’s worked in a shop knows the barrels and buckets of metal shavings that fill up quickly.  What if there were no materials to be recycled at the end of a production run? Additive manufacturing (AM) is a way to produce parts that grow during the process, and that don’t leave much, or any, debris afterward.  …

HOMER and PEACE Offer Quieter, Smoother Flight: Part One

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A European-based consortium of academic and industrial groups take a very old idea, add a plasma system that seems to be nearly science fiction, whip them together and create quiet, efficient, vector-controlled flight.  That’s the promise, although it seems a bit much to take in all at once.  But the folks at the ACHEON (Aerial Coanda High Efficiency Orienting-jet Nozzle) project seem to think they have a potential winner here.  ACHEON represents two other acronyms, so let’s define those first. The original idea for the project was part of H. O. M. E. R., not of the Simpsons, or even of epic Greek poetry, but of the “High-speed Orienting Momentum with Enhanced Reversibility” variety.  Combine that with P. E. A. …

EAS IX: Mike Ricci Explains PWB, Safety

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dreamliner battery nightmares have troubled the dreams of electric flight for the past two years.  Michael Ricci, Vice President of Engineering with LaunchPoint Technologies, gave attendees at this year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium a crash course (pun intended) in the many types of failure modes electric aircraft face.  Luckily, he also provided ways to mitigate and eliminate those failure modes. He introduced a concept called “Propulsion by Wire” (PBW), the main thrust for electric aircraft and roughly akin to the commonly discussed “Fly by Wire” concept.  Asking what product specifications for electric propulsion will look like, he answered his own rhetorical question with the technical requirements for reasonable interaction, a useful user interface, airworthiness, and safety. Starting with the last issue …

e-Genius Extends Its Range

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, GFC 1 Comment

Shown at the E-Flight Expo at Friedrichshafen’s Aero 2015, Stuttgart University’s e-Genius had an aerodynamic-looking pod next to one wing, containing an ENGIRO range extender consisting of a Wankel-type engine and a generator.  The unit could, as its name implies, help e-Genius go for new records to add to its already significant collection. Bill Lofton at EV Hangar has detailed the extender, now associated with the e-Genius and in a larger variant on the Equator P2 amphibian being built in Norway by Tomas Broedreskift. Equator’s web site describes its power system: “The hybrid propulsion system being developed by Equator is called EHPS (Equator Hybrid Propulsion System). The engine specific project is being co-funded by Transnova and the company doing the development work …

Elytron Shows Off POC Demonstrator at Heli Expo 2015

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

 Since last August at AirVenture 2014, Elytron Aircraft, LLC has made great progress.  The aircraft on display at Oshkosh last year was promising, but about half finished.  The completed two-seat, proof-of-concept (POC) airframe shown March 3rd through 5th this year at the HAI Heli Expo in Orlando, Florida seems ready to go and remarkably light at its 1,100 pound design goal. Elytron lists the following component advances for the last seven months, including completion of:  All carbon fiber work for the fuselage as well as the joined wings. The patented center wing, now fitted with its tilting mechanism and vertical flight control surfaces. All systems required for ground movement (taxiing). Installation and run-up of the turbocharged 450 sHP engine. Installation …