Carbon Fiber and the Grand Unified Airplane

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

Your editor has long held the belief that we are on the threshold of creating a Grand Unified Airplane, a craft that would draw all its energy from solar cells, the flexing of its wings, the air passing over its form, and the very act of flight itself.  It seems to become less of a science fiction ideal and more of real-world possibility every day.  Carbon fiber could be part of that possibility. What if your airplane were its own battery?  Think of the weight savings and potential endurance and range.  Your editor became fascinated with 2010 research done by Dr. Emile Greenhalgh of Imperial University in London, who developed a structural sandwich with carbon fiber outer layers and a …

Eraole in Flight – Further and Higher

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

Eraole is a unique machine in a sea of unique craft.  Powered by a combination of sunlight, Total biofuel, and hydrogen, Raphael Dinelli’s tandem-winged biplane has been under development for many years.  With it, Raphael hopes to cross the Atlantic in 2019, Duplicating Charles Lindbergh’s 1927 flight at about half the Spirit of the Spirit of St. Louis’s speed. Eraole’s first flight took place in 2016.  The video will allow you to compare its look then with its changed appearance today. Changes of Plane, Changes of Plans Dinelli’s original plan for the flight included the use of an algae-derived fuel to run Eraole’s engine/generator.  As reported by La Tribune, though, “For four years, the Ocean Vital Foundation conducted research with …

UAVOS Flies ApusDuo HAPS

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

UAVOS, located in the midst of surrounding Google properties in Mountain View, California, sells a wide variety of goods and services related to the unpiloted aircraft world.  One of their biggest creations so far, the ApusDuo High Altitude Psuedo Satellite (HAPS) ran through a full series of tests.  The 10-meter span prototype vehicle will test control algorithms, including takeoffs and landings and verify HAPS aerodynamics.  According to UAVOS “Test flights fully confirmed the flight characteristics of the UAV.”   This is good news, since their next step will be to make at least a 15-meter wing (49.2 feet) wingspan version.  That will rely even more on “Control of roll, pitch, v-shape and slip…due to a controlled change in the angle of …

HES Element One Could Fly Four 5,000 Kilometers

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

Horizon Energy Systems (HES), originally based in Singapore, has pursued lightweight hydrogen propulsion systems for the last 12 years, primarily for amall drones.  Going larger, the company announced plans today for Element One, “the world’s first regional hydrogen-electric passenger aircraft.” A four-passenger, 14-motored (!) monoplane, Element One will carry the lucky foursome 500 to 5,000 kilometers (310 to 3,100 statute miles).  This distributed power system claims “virtually no change to its current drone-scale systems,” which is a little puzzling, considering the largest of such systems produces no more than 1,000 Watts.  The scale of the Element One and its power packs is ambiguous, with illustrations showing a nine-axle trailer with attached solar panels ostensibly powering the on-site production of H2. …

Lithium-Oxygen Battery Breakthrough

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada – not far from Niagara Falls) News, reported, “Chemists make breakthrough on the road to creating a rechargeable lithium-oxygen battery.”  Dr. Linda Nazar, Canada Research Chair in Solid State Energy Materials, led a team that “Resolved two of the most challenging issues surrounding lithium-oxygen batteries, and in the process created a working battery with near 100 per cent coulombic efficiency.” The new work, which appears this week in the journal Science, Proves that four-electron conversion for lithium-oxygen electrochemistry is highly reversible.”  Waterloo is the first to achieve this, doubling electron storage in lithium-oxygen (Li-O2 – also known as lithium-air) batteries.  The video below touches on this and a great many other chemistries. Dr. Nazar …

Sustainable Aviation Symposium – Free on YouTube!

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

The 2018 Sustainable Aviation Symposium was a master class in aircraft design, electric and hybrid power, and the strategies that will make green flight a reality in our near and distant futures.  The considerable knowledge imparted in that gathering is now available for your education and enlightenment on YouTube. Better than (Most) Cat Videos Go here to see the entire 2018 Symposium program, complete with links to a video of each speaker’s talk. Or go here for the library of presentations on YouTube. Either link provides high-quality video of the 20 presentations from this year’s Sustainable Aviation Symposium.  You will see all the slides in each presentation and hear each presenter’s eloquent exposition.  These range from the simplest of garage-based …

Jetstream Cargo Gliders – Colorado to China in Three Days

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

Just as Richard Starke was explaining to Experimental Soaring Association attendees at this year’s Western Workshop how his proposed stratospheric cargo glider program would work, some multi-tasker checking his tablet shouted, “Perlan’s reached 76,000 feet!” Richard’s concept of launching cargo gliders that would ride the jet stream between continents was suddenly validated before an audience that a few minutes before might have been dazzled and even skeptical of his proposal.  Perlan’s tows behind the recently recruited Grob Egret turboprop towplane made 10,000 feet in 10 minutes a time-to-climb reality, and tows to 40,000 feet allowed rapid exploration of developing air masses over the Patagonian mountains. The idea of flying large, cargo-carrying gliders goes back to at least Word War Two, …

Print ‘Em and Stick ‘Em Solar Cells

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

University of Newcastle (UON) researchers may have achieved a breakthrough in creating solar cells on flexible plastic made in a roll-to-roll process with an unbelievably low price and equally incredible sensitivity.  They seem to have succeeded where an American firm failed half a decade ago. Printed solar cells were first attempted about a decade ago, with Konarka trying to make solar cells on simple ink-jet printers.  The company failed, despite having a Nobel Prize winner and other top physicist and chemists overseeing the process.  The “cells” never achieved more than about four- or five-percent efficiency and their plastic substrate deteriorated rapidly. Today, The University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia, and CHEP, a client firm, are displaying their thin-cell, …

Elektra Solar Launches HALE with Autonomous Control

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

Dr. Birgit Weißenbach of Elektra Solar GmbH and PC-Aero announced “The world’s strongest multifunctional solar-electric HALE aerial vehicle – the Elektra Two Solar: [with] “Take-off, flight and tough-down” successfully completed with [its] own autopilot system We usually think of HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) aircraft as being huge, sun-eclipsing things like AeroVironment’s flying wings or Boeing’s Phantom Eye.  These require large support systems and ground crews, much like the team that chased Solar Impulse around the world. Elektra Solar GmbH, a joint venture combining PC-Aero GmbH and Elektra UAS GmbH, uses aircraft designed by Calin Gologen, head of PC-Aero, and computer technology from Dr. Ing. Habil. Konstantin Kondak.  Since October, 2009 he headed a key research area, Flying Robots at …

BioLEC – First There was Light, Then There Was Energy

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Feature image credit: Victor Tangermann Futurism  ponders, “Sugar, Light, And A New Type of Chemistry — What It May Take To Wean Us Off Fossil Fuels” in an article by Dan Robitzki.  The topic brings a new term into your editor’s vocabulary – BioLEC – Bioinspired Light Escalated Chemistry.  The goal of such chemistry is to use the energy of two photons, “the tiniest quantifiable units of light, to power chemical reactions.”  This takes us into how trees and other photosynthesizing plants use quantum theory to make things grow. Trees Have Been Doing it For Years It’s a bit odd to think of trees and quantum physics in the same sentence.  Your editor used to think of sunlight striking leaves …