SmartFlyer Challenge: Electric Airplanes Fill Swiss Skies

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

There are few times one will see more than one electric airplane at the same place – outside of perhaps, Friedrichshafen’s e-Flight Expo every year.  But to see them flying at the same field on the same day is an even grander delight.  That happened September 9 and 10 at Grenchen, Switzerland.  Grenchen hosted the world’s first all-electric fly-in – the SmartFlyer Challenge.  It drew an appreciable number of electric aircraft of all sizes and types despite the clouds and rain that kept some from scaling the mountains. An Electric Three-Plane Formation Flight The Siemens-powered Magnus e-Fusion from the Czech Republic, the electric Phoenix motorglider, and Stuttgart University’s e-Genius all flew formation with a Piper L-4, a World War Two …

Smart Fabrics Generate Energy Several Ways

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Materials, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

We see a great deal about wearable energy-generating fabrics, garments that will help keep the wearer warm, or cool, or visible because of built-in piezo-electric generators in the makeup of the fabric.  Several researchers are taking this to the next level, creating new warps and woofs of materials that will create energy from a greater range of energy inputs. Elias Siores and the University of Bolton In 2011, Professor Elias Siores and associates at the University of Bolton in the UK created a flexible fiber that could harvest energy from movement and light.  Siores said it was flexible enough to be woven into “a sail, window curtain or tent and generate power”.  The material was recognized as a major innovation …

Capturing Carbon and Making Airplanes from It

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Materials, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Climate scientists have tracked the growing percentage of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air, and noted a correlation between that rise and global warming.  Scientists from Michael Mann to Benjamin Santer have measured the changes in CO2 levels against climate change, with 97 out of 100 climate scientists accepting that human activities and rises in CO2 (and other greenhouse gases such as methane) are affecting our overall climate. Not to start an argument about this matter, this entry looks at a novel method of removing CO2 from the atmosphere and using it to make possible carbon materials that would be used in aerospace and other components.  The question of carbon removal usually includes some method of storing it.  Futurism.com has …

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 …

Look Up and Say Cheese!  Autonomous Mapping from the Elektra One Solar

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Had the residents of Landshut, a 13th-century city in Lower Bavaria, chanced to look up at the right time over the last few weeks, they might have glimpsed a bright yellow shape looking back at them.  Calin Gologan’s latest Elektra One Solar carries a suite of cameras that can transmit 2D movies in 4K resolution to a ground station up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) away.  Through sophisticated software, the images can be translated into 3D maps with a resolution of five centimeters (just under two inches), the primary mission of the flights. Partner ViaLight, a 2009 spin-off of the DLR (the German Aerospace Center), provided the hardware and software that allows up to 100 Gbps (gigabits per second) data …

Batteries Following Roads Less Taken

Dean Sigler Batteries, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.  Yogi Berra Technology and new products continue to enhance the development and realization of electric and solar aircraft.  Two approaches to batteries, both of which explore roads less taken, have some promise for aircraft use. Shine Some Light on It What if your battery could be recharged just by exposing it to light?  A team of South Korean researchers, affiliated with UNIST (Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology) has developed a single-unit, photo-rechargeable portable power source based on high-efficiency silicon solar cells and lithium-ion batteries (LIBs).  Rechargeable under solar or artificial light, the unit could power other electronic devices, “even in the absence of light.” Professor Sang-Young Lee and …

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 …

SolarStratos Makes First Flight

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

SolarStratos, a feather-light 450 kilogram (990 pound), solar-powered airplane, lifted off for the first time on May 5 in Payerne, Switzerland.  Considering its 24.9 meter (81.69 feet) wingspan, the airplane shows designer Calin Gologan’s ability to squeeze performance from every gram of structure.  It flies nicely, too, with test pilot Damian Hischier enthusing, “The plane is very nice to [fly].  [Its] reactions are healthy, and we see that it was well designed.” Sharing Payerne Airport with Solar Impulse, SolarStratos represents a different kind of adventure, ready to make five-hour flights to 75,000 feet (two hours up, five hours down).  Such flights can carry a pilot and scientific measuring equipment, or for those lucky enough to have the price of admission, …

Exciting News from Eric Raymond and Dr. Van Helsing

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

We are excited to share this press release from Eric Raymond at Solar Flight.  Being in on things at the beginning of an extraordinary new technology is something that we strive for in this blog.  We were alerted to this by Dr. Abraham Van Helsing from the Transcendental Aerodynamics Department of the University of Transylvania.  He has been advising Eric on some arcane aspects of what most will agree are nearly unbelievable propulsion techniques. For immediate Release April 1, 2017 Today Solar Flight Inc. is proud to announce the roll out of its newest electric aircraft, the Monarch. In secret development for the last 2 years, it breaks new ground for this small aircraft development firm. The most revolutionary aspect …

Solar Impulse Pilot Andre’ Borschberg to Speak at SAS 2017

Dean Sigler SAS, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

One of two pilots who guided Solar Impulse around the world will speak at the 2017 Sustainable Aviation Symposium.  Andre’ Borschberg, having accomplished along with Bertrand Piccard an extraordinary voyage, uses his reputation and celebrity to educate the world that the “Future is Clean,” a watchword for the team’s ongoing efforts. Last November, for instance, Bertrand Piccard “launched the World Alliance for Clean Technologies under the umbrella of the Solar Impulse Foundation – a second phase in the realization of his vision that clean technologies can accomplish impossible goals and solve many of the challenges facing our society today.” In the meantime, Andre’ uses his engineering talents and perspective to bringing about practical outcomes derived from his and Bertrand’s experiences.  Because …