H3X – A Motor with High Power Density

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

H3X, a motor company started by three University of Madison, Wisconsin graduates, promotes its integrated motor/inverter power plant as “the next step in the evolution of electric propulsion technology.”  With Their HPDM-250’s 13-kilowatt-per-kilogram continuous power ability, it meets ARPA-E’s (Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy’s) criteria for powering large, 737-type aircraft. Electronics Weekly reports, “ARPA-E has determined that for a Boeing 737 to complete a typical five hour flight, the propulsion system must be >12 kW/kg continuous.”  H3X adds, “These specifications are estimates based on electromagnetic thermal and structural simulations. Data from dynamometer will be available Q2 2021.” Their motor is roughly twice as power dense as MagniX motors of similar power, according to H3X. Weight reduction is an intrinsic part of …

DLR’s Novel Configurations

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) conducting research into the potential of new types of design have crafted novel configurations for future flight.  The DRL and BDLI (German Aerospace Industries Association or Bundesverband der Deutschen Luft- und Raumfahrtindustrie)  have published a white paper: “Zero Emission Aviation – Emissionsfreies Fliegen” explicating these configurations. Surprisingly, one of their major findings is that “Electric flight enables lighter aircraft with smaller wings and distributed propulsion systems.”  Battery weight has caused MagniX and Ampaire to reduce the number of passengers or the cargo loads on conversions of existing airframes.  To counter those issues, “An EU research project is investigating the potential for new propulsion systems and aircraft concepts.”  …

Peter Sripol’s Mk. IV is Paramotor Powered

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

Peter Sripol creates interesting ultralight aircraft, among other, sometimes scary projects. His latest is pulled along by a paramotor motor.  Because of the small aircraft’s low and slow performance, the low-power (and very low noise) motor seems more than sufficient to the task. His fourth design, the Mk IV has no ailerons, much like an earlier ultralight, the Skypup.  After initial tests showed shortcomings with the Mk. IV,  quickly modified wings allowed Peter to return to the air quickly.  As he explains, there won’t be plans for this airplane because it has too many not as yet time-tested innovations.  The hot-wire-cut foam structure and vinyl wrapped wings are an unknown in terms of longevity, so it’s probably best to let …

DLR’s Future Visions

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

One Size Does Not Fit All DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt or German Aerospace Center) and the German Aerospace Industries Association (Bundesverband der Deutschen Luft- und Raumfahrtindustrie; BDLI) present future visions of electric aircraft.  These range from a four-seat hydrogen-powered repurposed Pipistrel that nine years ago won the NASA Green Flight Challenge to large, multiple propeller, medium-range airliners. Their White Paper, “Zero Emission Aviation – Emissionsfreies Fliegen” (unfortunately available only in German) promotes the promise of “energy transition in air transport, with the goal of zero emissions,” and claims this is “possible by mid-century but requires a considerable increase in innovation.” Rolf Henke, the member of the DLR Executive Board responsible for aeronautics research and technology, explains, “The …

Ampaire’s Second Electric Eel Sets Record

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There are now two Ampaire electric EELs* flying, courtesy of Ampaire Aviation.  The second test vehicle recently set a world record, staying in the air for two hours and 32 minutes, covering 341 miles at an average speed of “around 135 mph.” A six-seat Cessna 337 “Skymaster,” the “push-pull” twin has been modified by Ampaire “with an electric motor in the nose and traditional [internal] combustion engine in the rear.  The paired powerplants act as a parallel hybrid, both electric and ICE units providing thrust simultaneously. Ampaire flew an electric-and-gas-powered Cessna 337 this year. With assistance from Ikhana, a modification and conversion specialist,  Ampaire replaced the 337’s rear engine (which drives a pusher prop) with an electric propulsion system, leaving …

Wright Electric, ARPA-E, and Life’s Report Card

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If, as the infamous cartoon in the New Yorker proclaimed, “Money is life’s report card,” Jeff Engler’s Wright Electric got a least a B+ for its current semester.  While not as flush with cash as firms like Joby Aviation, eHang, or Volocopter, Wright received significant recognition for its initiative in designing high-efficiency electric motors with a high-frequency inverter and “an aggressive cooling strategy.”  The $647,039 ARPA-E grant will further Wright’s work on the ARPA-E ASCEND Project. ASCEND stands for Aviation-class Synergistically Cooled Electric-motors with iNtegrated Drives, a sure-fire Scrabble winner and pretty tortuous acronym. Phase one of the project takes the team through the detailed design and subcomponent testing for the system.  Phase two will see Wright build and demonstrate …

ZEROe on the Rise at Airbus

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ZEROe Airbus, taking a new direction, announced that they are, “Exploring game-changing concept aircraft – known as ZEROe – powered by hydrogen, a disruptive zero-emission technology with the potential to reduce aircraft emissions by up to 50%.” Two seem to be evolutionary, employing a different fuel and powertrain within fairly conventional airframes.  The third, a blended-wing body (BWB) structure, emulates Boeing’s and NASA’s BWB.  All three, though, employ hydrogen to meet the planet’s need to reduce or eliminate carbon dioxide and other emissions.  All three use hydrogen hybrid power systems. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in a 2019 report looked at the different electric and hybrid systems available.  The organization included a factor examined before in this blog.  “The …

A Dash of Hydrogen

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

Getting the Parts Free, Charged for Refills What if future flight had a simple “return the old fuel container and get a new one” business model?  Paul Eremenko, founder of California startup Universal Hydrogen, wants to try it out in a Dash 8 airliner equipped with two 2-megawatt motors supplied by MagniX. Poor analogy perhaps, but in his boyhood, your editor had a camera that was sold at the store complete with a roll of film already inside.  All you had to do when you took all your pictures was send it by mail, with a check or money order, and a week later, you got the reloaded camera back with the prints and negatives of your pictures.  This klunky, …

ZeroAvia First Out of the Gate with Hydrogen Flight

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An Historic Hydrogen Outing While Airbus and MagniX promote the near- and not-so-near virtues of hydrogen-powered flight, ZeroAvia has demonstrated such flight with the largest H2-powered aircraft so far.  Their Cranfield, England-based Piper Malibu flew on H2 power for the first time September 24 on an eight-minute circuit.  The blue Malibu reached 1,000 feet and a top speed of 100 knots true air speed. Quick to capitalize on the successful mission, , ZeroAvia founder and CEO Val Miftakhov held a press conference the next day.  In it, he explained his team,“has had discussions with seven aircraft manufacturers about possible retrofit and new-build applications for the propulsion system. He said the company has signed letters of intent with 10 airlines that …

E2 Glide – Electrifying Sailplane Competitions

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Uwe Beger, competition director for a new form of sailplane contenst, wrote this in response to our entry on the Pipistrel Velis’ multiple records flying from Switzerland to the North Sea.  “From August 29th to September 5th 2020 fifteen pilots from 6 different nations flew a cross country flying contest (E2 Glide), where the usage of electric engines (Front Electric Sustainers as well as Retractable Electric Engines) was allowed within some contingent of 2 up to 2.5 kWh per flight. Altogether the participants managed to fly a distance of nearly 10,000km (6,214 miles) with the use of 150 kWh of energy in sum.”  That’s about 41.4 miles per kilowatt hour. “Not that bad compared to the world records of the …