Turbocharged Fuel Cells

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

The Engineer, a British publication, reports on a turbocharger for fuel cells.  Because a fuel cell is a cross between a combustion engine and an electric motor, the concept of pushing extra air through the fuel cell to increase power is similar to that of turbocharging a regular two- or four-stroke engine.  The publication says this could double the output of a hydrogen fuel cell. Like other combustion engines, a fuel cell can be limited by the airflow entering, that supply limiting their ability to release positively-charged hydrogen ions. Bryn Richards, CEO of Aeristech, explains, “Our proprietary high speed motor and control technology allows us to deliver air at a much higher pressure [than existing systems].  No other motor control …

EAS IX: Neil Johnson of Navitas on Battery Safety

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

Neil Johnson of the Navitas Systems Advanced Solutions Group gave the gathering at the ninth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium an overview on battery reserve limits and gauging, and the methods necessary to address the different failure modes for lithium batteries, all of which could be problematic for electric aircraft. Navitas includes some legacy technology adapted from 123 Systems, typically 18650 format batteries, an 18-millimeter by 65-millimeter cylinder with active materials separated by a dialectric separator material in a “Tootsie Roll” configuration.  Some of the chemistries involved were developed for Formula 1 racers, and according to a talk given by Bill Dube’ and Eva Håkansson, are considerably more powerful than “conventional” lithium cells. According to Neil, the five billion cells out there now …

First Seeo, Now Sakti3

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

Bosch’s acquisition of Seeo Inc. is followed within seven weeks by news that an innovator in another area has acquired a battery developer. Electric-vehiclenews.com announced that “Dyson, the U.K. company famous for its bagless vacuum cleaners, has acquired Michigan-based solid-state battery startup Sakti3 for $90 million and announced plans to build an important $1 billion battery factory to mass produce the next generation battery technology.” The report noted this was the second recent purchase of a promising start-up company by a larger, richer firm.  Bosch acquired Seeo Inc. to benefit from its solid-state technology, which like most solid-state batteries would, among other benefits, reduce or eliminate fire hazards – something brought to the fore by recent FAA rulings on shipping of lithium …

EAS IX: David Calley’s Innovative Design and Use of Electric Motors

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

David Calley is  member of the CAFE Foundation Advisory Board, with a great deal of technical expertise to offer.  His small wind turbine sold over 150,000 units.  His patented design for the TrailerTail® increases fuel economy on semi-trucks and trailers by 5.4 percent at 65 miles per hour, according to SAE tests.  Last year at EAS VIII, he showed the potential for small motors with incredible torque that could power Sky Taxis. At this year’s EAS IX he described, in depth, the type of motor design he has been developing to power things like his three-wheel electric/pedal-powered commuter vehicle and landing-gear wheels on Sky Taxis and even rocket fuel pumps. He asked the not-too-rhetorical questions, “How high can electric motor …

EAS IX: Tyler MacCready on Swarm Science

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

One of your editor’s favorite books is An Exaltation of Larks, James Lipton’s compilation of venereal terms (not what you think) for plurals of animals.  Squires who aspired to become knights had to learn over 100 such terms, according to Sir Walter Scott.  Terms of venery (references to animal flesh) include a school of fish, a litter of puppies, and a nest of vipers (going back to at least the King James version of St. Paul’s words). One lesser known term, a murmuration of starlings, relates to Tyler MacCready’s talk on how control of the Future Crowded Skies at EAS IX might mimic the flocks of birds we see swarming and precipitously changing directions in swooping formations. Obviously, the numbers …

Snow White – an Electric Flying Wing or a Lifting Body?

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

Klaus Burkhard publishes a wonderful web site and blog on ultralight sailplanes, with special attention to the Banjo sailplane, one of which he owns and flies.  His interest in other craft is broad, though, and he recently shared news of a flying wing sailplane that can be electrically powered.  Its designer and builder, Dr. Andre’s Chavarria-Krauser explains: “Schneewittchen (Snow White) is designed to fulfill the requirements of LTF-L, a class of very light airplanes with up to 120 [kilograms] (264 pounds – 10 more than U. S. Part 103 limits) empty weight. The requirements are quiet stringent, including not only the extremely low empty weight, but also a very low stall speed below 55 km/h (corresponds to 30 [knots] or 34 MPH).”   The …

Chip Yates in a New Role

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

We are used to seeing Chip Yates breaking records – speed records, mostly – but there is a side to Chip that comes as a surprise to most, and his new position as Vice President of Marketing for Norsk Titanium AS (NTi) might come as a shock beyond surprise.   Chip continues with his other enterprises, noting, “Yates Electrospace Corporation was awarded a development contract for the U.S. Marine Corps to design and prepare to build a 1,000 pound payload, disposable drone to resupply troops in harm’s way!” NTi prides itself on being, “The first U.S.-based 3D printing company capable of producing complex titanium components that will meet aerospace quality requirements. The patented additive manufacturing technology uses titanium wire feedstock …

EAS IX:  Materials Design for Battery Breakthroughs

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

Dr. Yi Cui’s presentation title ended with, “from Fundamental Science to Commercialization,” an indication of the long, tough road that new developments are forced to take.  Considering that Sony introduced the Lithium battery as a commercial entity in 1991 (and that following at least an 18-year slog from laboratory to mass production), mostly incremental changes have come for the chemistry, echoing Dr. Cui’s pronouncement at EAS III that lithium batteries followed a “growth curve” of about eight percent per year, meaning that about every nine years, they should double in performance. Cui’s estimate has been borne out in reality, Nature magazine reporting in 2014, “Modern Li-ion batteries hold more than twice as much energy by weight as the first commercial …

Bosch Doubles Down on Solid-State Batteries

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

Bosch, the German electronics giant, is making a strong showing at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA), and showing off its solid-state Li-ion battery technology.  It recently acquired Seeo, Inc., an American startup that has been developing such a battery for several years, and will add Seeo’s research to its own expertise and exclusive patents. Encouragingly, the company says it will be able to double the energy density of Li-ion batteries while cutting prices by half.  Perhaps discouragingly, Bosch says this will take until 2020 to bring to production. Green Car Congress quotes Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management for Robert Bosch GmbH, claiming a breakthrough.  “Bosch is using its knowledge and considerable financial resources to achieve a …

The Third Electric Airplane to Fly in Oregon

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

Martin Koxxy, a mechanical designer for a micro-electronics firm in Beaverton, Oregon, has crafted his e-Gull, a design by Mark Beierle, over the last two years.  The airplane reflects Martin’s care and skills, with simplicity and attention to detail that makes it an airworthy jewel.   The paint lines on the fuselage roll neatly into the door flanges, both on the fuselage and on the door, for instance. Showing his expertise with electronics, Martin’s all-glass cockpit includes a moving map via a Samsung tablet, a miniature EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System) by GRT Avionics, and a Cycle-Analyst, a device normally used by bicyclists with electric motor assist.  It monitors battery, motor and controller status among other things.  The latest version is priced at …