Sustainable Aviation Symposium – Free on YouTube!

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, SAS, Sky Taxis, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

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 Leave a Comment

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 Leave a Comment

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 Leave a Comment

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 Leave a Comment

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 …

Solar-Only Quadrotor in Singapore

Dean Sigler Batteries, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

In their latest adventure in derring-do, a team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Engineering has developed and flown Asia’s first fully solar-powered quadcopter drone.  A large framework holds the solar cells, which are the sole means of powering the craft’s four motors.  Developers have flown the big square above 10 meters in test flights and achieved controllable flight without the use of batteries. Frogworks Snowstorm This is just the latest in a series of aeronautical exploits by NUS students.  In late 2015, they unveiled their Frogworks Snowstorm, a 24-rotor person carrier powered by 2.2 kilowatt (2.94 horsepower) motors driving 76-centimeter (30-inch) propellers. New Asia reported that, “At the London edition of technology event Founders Forum this …

“StratoAirNet” Prototype Completes 1st Flight

Dean Sigler Announcements, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

George E. Bye. CEO and founder of Bye Aerospace, is on a roll these days, selling a large number of SunFlyer 2 training aircraft, delivering Silent Falcon solar electric unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), partnering in the TriFan 600 project with XTI Aircraft, and overseeing the first flight of the StratoAirNet prototype. A letter from Diane Simard, Senior Vice President of Bye Aerospace, Inc., reports “the successful completion of the first flight of the solar electric technology demonstrator prototype for its “StratoAirNet” and “Solesa” families of medium-altitude aircraft systems.”  Flying from the Northern Colorado Regional Airport, north of Loveland, the sailplane-based optionally-piloted vehicle has made additional flights since its maiden outing. Bye expressed happiness at the event and gave thanks to …

Zephyr Breaks Its Own Record – Again

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

The Royal Aeronautical Society, official record keeper for such things, announced in an August 8 press release, “Taking off from Arizona, US on 11 July, Airbus Defense’s solar-powered UAV (unpiloted aerial vehicle), the British-built Zephyr S, has smashed the existing endurance record for unrefueled, unmanned flight by staying aloft for 25 days, 23 hours and 57 minutes. This, the maiden flight of the production Zephyr S HAPS (high altitude pseudo satellite) for the UK MoD (United Kingdom Ministry of Defense), once verified, almost doubles the existing endurance flight record of 14 days, 22 minutes for UAVs, set by a previous Zephyr prototype in 2010. The solar-powered Zephyr UAV, which weighs less than 75 [kilograms – 165 pounds], flies at 70,000ft, …

Funneling Light and Energy with New Materials

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Materials, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Dr. Adolfo De Sanctis, a Research Fellow in the Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials group at the University of Exeter (UK), earned his Ph. D. in physics with a dissertation on “Manipulating light in two-dimensional layered materials” (Nature Communications, May 2017).  The video below gives a short-hand view of his work. Other, less scholarly outlets (like this one) give an easy-to-read view of what he has accomplished, and why his research is of interest for many applications – including energy harvesting. Green Optimistic reports, “A team of researchers from the University of Exeter developed a solar cell with a record 60% efficiency. The idea behind this breakthrough is similar to using a ‘funnel’: corralling an amorphous collection of electrical charges into …

Riding the Sunshine Highway

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Materials, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Sunday, July 22 found your editor at Bend, Oregon’s High Desert Museum for the finish of the 2018 American Solar Challenge.  The race started in Omaha, Nebraska on July 14 and followed parts of the Oregon National Historic Trail and the Lewis and Clark Trail. Omaha, NE (Starting line) – July 14 Grand Island, NE (Checkpoint) – July 14 Gering, NE (Stage stop) – July 15 – 16 Casper, WY (Checkpoint) – July 16 Lander, WY (Stage stop) – July 17-18 Farson, WY (Checkpoint) – July 18 Arco, ID (Stage stop) – July 19 – 20 Mountain Home, ID (Checkpoint) – July 20 Burns, OR (Stage stop) – July 21 – 22 Bend, OR (Finish line) – July 22 Teams …