Efficient and Cheap Catalyst for Water Splitting

Dean Sigler Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

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 …

Dr. Joseph Kallo, DLR See a Hydrogen Future

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

Speaking at the first annual Sustainable Aviation Symposium at the Sofitel San Francisco Bay on May 6, 2016.  Dr. Joseph Kallo focused on hydrogen as a more than potential fuel for future flight.  He stressed that H2 fuel development was further along than one would think, and shared several examples to promote that thought. A Busy Man, a Storied Airframe Dr. Kallo is DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt – German Center for Air and SpaceTravel) Coordinator of Electrical Aviation for Germany’s equivalent of NASA, oversees work at the DLR Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics, which has worked with Pipistrel in Slovenia to convert the Green Flight Prize winning Pipistrel G4 to the hydrogen-powered HY4. He’s also Institute Director at the …

Nissan’s SOFC Vehicle – Just in Time for the Olympics

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

Two major types of fuel cells vie for vehicle designers’ attention: PEM, or proton exchange membrane types, and solid oxide fuels cells (SOFCs). PEMs (also known as polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells) require an expensive catalyst such as platinum, and hydrogen as fuel. Hydrogen itself is costly to produce and runs up the operating cost for such a fuel cell. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. timed things to coincide with the 2016 Olympics opening in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the introduction of their solid oxide fuel cell vehicle, a van that runs on bio-ethanol electric power.  Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn claims this to be a first, with benefits for potential users. “The e-Bio Fuel-Cell offers eco-friendly transportation and creates opportunities for …

Photosynthesis Directly Makes Fuel

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

That’s what photosynthesis does in leaves – creates fuel in the form of plant sugars that flow into the plant to which the leaf is attached.  One of the main quibbles about trying to convert solar energy to usable fuel is the usual multi-step process involved.  Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have made a major advance in creating a solar cell that captures carbon dioxide (CO2) and uses sunlight to make a synthetic gas that can be burned as fuel. Scientists rarely use hyperbolic terms such as “extraordinary” in their findings.  According to Amin Salehi-Khojin, assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at UIC, “What we needed was a new family of chemicals with extraordinary properties.”  They …

Roof Top Hydrogen-Generating Solar Cells for Vehicles

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

Students at the University of Leuven, the Netherlands, have won the first Energy Award, sponsored by Febeliec – the association of industrial energy consumers, a Belgian trade association. Their miniature solar panel produces hydrogen gas when exposed to sunlight, not unlike “artificial leaves” of other researchers.  The bioscience engineers crafted a small square panel that can be mounted to rooftops, including those of cars, to convert water vapor in the air to H2 that could feed fuel cells in the building or vehicle.  This could also reduce CO2 “on a large scale to convert it into useful substances,” according to the team of young scientists. Generating electricity and producing hydrogen at the same time is a neat trick, but the …

Bouncing Light Around Between Electrons and Holes

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

Bob Elliott of the comedy team Bob and Ray died February 3, reminding your editor of one of the many routines Elliott and Ray Goulding performed on live radio.  It involved an inventor who had perfected a solar panel that could run the lights in your house all day, but couldn’t keep them going at night when they were really needed.  That was over 50 years ago, and investigators at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, SuperSTEM, and the University of Oxford have come up with a possible solution to Bob and Ray’s quandary. Combining two oxides, one containing strontium and titanium (SrTiO3) and the other lanthanum and chromium (LaCrO3), they came up with a material that uses the interface …

EnergyOr Ups the Ante for Endurance

Dean Sigler Fuel Cells, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation, Uncategorized 0 Comments

Staying airborne for more than an hour or two might seem like a huge leap for battery-powered electric aircraft.  Inspired designers like Eric Raymond have been able to use solar cells to extend their flights to near-perpetual states.  A large craft like Solar Impulse 2 remains in flight for up to five successive days and nights only through careful energy management and flight planning.  Researchers are looking at hydrogen fuel cells as an alternative to batteries, with the hopes of achieving greater endurance. One company, EnergyOr, has developed two still small fuel cells to power their rotary- and fixed-wing drones, setting several records in the process.  With payloads and maximum takeoff weights that enable carrying a 4K camera or large …