Jeff Engler’s Wright Aero Leaps Into Green Flight

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Partnering with easyJet, a UK-based budget airline, to build an electric airliner capable of carrying 150 passengers on sub-two-hour flights, Wright Aero will substitute electrons for liquid fuel on one-fifth of EasyJet’s trips.  Finding a ready collaborator in easyJet’s Carolyn McCall, Engler has a partner who is already making inroads into making jet flight cleaner.  “’We can envisage a future without jet fuel and we are excited to be part of it. It is now more a matter of when not if a short haul electric plane will fly,’ said EasyJet CEO McCall,” in an interview with The Guardian. Engler added, in his latest Wright Weport: “First, the context is on Wednesday easyJet announced a partnership with us during their Innovation …

The Lightest Material Encapsulated in the Sheerest

Dean Sigler Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Scientists may have come up with a process to wrap hydrogen-trapping magnesium with an atom-thick layer of graphene, setting up a scenario to store hydrogen in a weight-saving way. Hydrogen seems to be a perfect fuel, but like all perfect things, an unattainable one.  Its lightness and smallness make it hard to contain, and pressurization required to store it adds weight to its containers.  Flying since 2009, the Lange Antares DLR-H2 has been a test bed for hydrogen-fueled flight.  The DLR (Germany’s NASA) explains, “The developers selected a new, larger pressure vessel that, at 350 bar (5,076 pounds per square inch), now holds five kilograms of hydrogen to replace the previous tank in the external pod on the starboard wing, …

Instant Hydrogen?

Dean Sigler Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Researchers at the U. S. Army’s Research Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, announced what they call a “groundbreaking discovery – an aluminum nanomaterial they designed produces high amounts of energy when it comes in contact with water, or with any liquid containing water.” Reportedly “during routine materials experimentation,” the team observed a bubbling reaction when they added water to a nano-galvanic aluminum-based powder.  The rapid and spontaneous hydrolysis of water did not require a catalyst came as a surprise to the researchers. Scott Grendahl, a materials engineer and team leader, explained, “The hydrogen that is given off can be used as a fuel in a fuel cell.”  Unlike most water splitting, this is a one-step process, adding water …

Full-Spectrum Solar-Generated Hydrogen

Dean Sigler Hydrogen Fuel, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Osaka University researchers have created a new material based on gold and black phosphorus to produce clean hydrogen fuel using the full spectrum of sunlight.  Most solar apparatus used in “water splitting” rely on materials such as titanium dioxide.  These are limited to obtaining energy from the ultraviolet (UV) part of the solar spectrum, however.  The rest of the spectrum is wasted. Osaka’s team “developed a material to harvest a broader spectrum of sunlight,” using a three-part composite.  The different parts maximize absorption of light and enhance the efficiency of the unit for water splitting.  The core, a “traditional” semiconductor of lanthanum titanium oxide (LTO) is coated with tiny nanoparticle specks of gold.  The gold-covered LTO is then mixed with …

Long Hours of Droning On

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

Several different organizations are trying different ways to keep unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs, up longer.  We’ll look at three recent efforts in long-endurance missions, each with a unique technological approach. Wirth Research – Hydrogen Fuel Cell Wirth Research is now constructing a new tilt rotor, Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL), hydrogen fuel cell powered, advanced terrain-mapping drone.  Carrying a payload of sensors and onboard data processing capabilities, the vehicle will be powered by a complete H2 storage, control and power system provided by HES of Singapore, a specialist in ultra-light hydrogen fuel cells. The Wirth machine’s missions range from precision agriculture, to pipeline and cable inspection for utilities, surveillance and other security-related tasks, through to detection and monitoring support …

MAHEPA, Modularizing the Approach to Clean Flight

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Pipistrel, itself flying pure electric and hybrid aircraft, has announced its participation in MAHEPA, a Modular Approach to Hybrid-Electric Propulsion Architecture.  MAHEPA aims to,” reduce the gap between research and the production of low-emission propulsion technologies that would enable the achievement of environmental objectives in the field of aviation by 2050.”  Mahepa’s first meeting, held May 15 and 16 at Pipistrel’s headquarters at Ajdovscina (Slovenia), helped define the direction for a major academic/industry project. Led by the aircraft manufacturer, in cooperation with Compact Dynamics, DLR (Germany’s equivalent of NASA), the University of Ulm, H2Fly, Politecnico di Milano, TU Delft and University of Maribor, project goals are impressive. – “To boost research in the field of low emission propulsion technology to …

Efficient and Cheap Catalyst for Water Splitting

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University of Houston physicists think they may have overcome the last hurdle to generating abundant hydrogen, a fuel that is as elusive as it is clean.  Their new catalyst, “composed of easily available, low-cost materials and operating far more efficiently than previous catalysts,” could solve at least one of the problems associated with generating and storing H2. Jeannie Kever, writing for the University newsletter, reports Paul C. W. Chu, TLL Temple Chair of Science and founding director and chief scientist of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH and colleagues physicists Zhifeng Ren and Shuo Chen, have created a catalyst “Cost-wise… much lower and performance-wise, much better.”  The quote comes from said Zhifeng Ren, M.D. Anderson professor of physics and lead …

Making Hydrogen at Ambient Temperature with Biomass

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Hydrogen would be a nearly perfect fuel if it didn’t take more energy to extract it than you can get out of it.  Scientists have been working for years to isolate it in an economical fashion.  The most common element in the universe, hydrogen makes up 10 percent of the weight of living things here on earth – mainly in water, proteins and fats.  Its bonds in water make it pervasive, but still distant.  Obtaining it can be as simple as the video below. But the short bursts derived from this approach will exhaust the battery and not provide as much energy in return. Waste Not, Want Not Ironically, much of the earth’s other resources, more easily gained, are wasted …

SA Symposium 2017 – An April Festival of Electric Flight

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, SAS, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

April 21 and 22, 2017, set your GPS for N 37° 31′ 20.84” W 122° 15′ 38.31” – the Hotel Pullman San Francisco Bay.  The refined and beautiful setting and four-star accommodations make a grand accompaniment to the story we will share. The story of the 2017 Sustainable Aviation Symposium includes the latest in aerodynamics, electric power and energy storage.  It’s a grand and sweeping review, told by talented intellects in the context of using the latest technology to help save the planet.  A few exemplars of the program highlight this year’s story, “ A Keynote Address from a Master Designer Tine Tomazic, Director of Research and Development for Pipistrel, created the G4 to win the 2011 Green Flight Challenge, …

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

Dean Sigler Batteries, Fuel Cells, GFC, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

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 …