Clearing up the Origin of One Airplane

Dean Sigler Feedback, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The following press release was distributed by Dr. Birgit Weißenbach, wife of Calin Gologan and press representative for PC-Aero GmbH: “Many press releases and articles were published in the whole world relating the Aircraft flown by Luminati Aerospace LLC in NY named Substrata V0 and the Solar Electric airplane from PC-Aero/Elektra UAS named Elektra One Solar. “In order to avoid misunderstandings PC-Aero/Elektra UAS GmbH publish[es] the following press release: “In October 2015 PC-Aero/Elektra UAS, the designer and manufacturer of the electric-solar airplane Elektra One Solar, and Luminati Aerospace signed a Manufacturing License Agreement for ONE UNIT aircraft based on the Elektra One Solar documentation provided by PC-Aero/Elektra UAS. PC-Aero/Elektra UAS also provided [a] ONE UNIT manufacturing license agreement to CarbonWacker GmbH …

Solar Impulse 2 Gets a Jet Escort

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Following a fairly non-eventful crossing of the Atlantic, Bertrand Piccard was greeted by a welcoming formation of Casa C-101 Aviojets, Spain’s Patrulla Águila flight demonstration team. After three days and nights in the air, Piccard landed in the Spanish sunrise, also finalizing efforts to establish the International Committee of Clean Technology (ICCT), whose goal is to continue Solar Impulse’s legacy, “promoting concrete energy efficient solutions in order to solve many of the challenges facing society today.” While “Until recently, protecting the environment was expensive and threatened our society’s comfort, mobility and growth. Today, thanks to modern clean technologies, the energy consumption of the world, and therefore the C02 emissions, could be divided by two, while creating jobs and enhancing profits. …

Elektra One Solar or Luminati VO-Substrata?

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Your editor saw a news item from Sun ‘n Fun about a new solar-powered airplane and recognized the design as one from Calin Gologan’s PC-Aero, an aircraft design and consulting firm in Germany. General Aviation News credited the airplane’s design and construction to Luminati Aerospace in New York state.   The story did not mention Gologan’s involvement, though, a possible oversight.  An alert reader commented on the similarity of the airplane to the Elektra One Solar. A few months later, your editor saw an Associated Press story from Calverton, New York, which explained, “Pilot Robert Lutz flew the VO-Substrata aircraft for about 20 minutes in the first test flight opened to the public. The white aircraft features wing-mounted solar cells and has a wingspan …

Solar Impulse’s Great Photo Op – and Special Birthday Guest

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Saturday night, if you were lucky enough to be wandering the streets of New York City, you would have seen a string of lights slowly crossing the sky above the Statue of Liberty, a stirring sight – especially for those following the over-year-long flight of Solar Impulse 2. Andre’ Borschberg had flown the giant electric airplane from the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania to the night skies over Manhattan, landing finally at John F. Kennedy International Airport.  The airplane will pause briefly before departing on a trans-Atlantic flight to an as-yet undisclosed location in Europe, from which it will make the final leg of the journey, returning to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. “The Statue of Liberty is a …

Daniel Nocera Returns to the Artificial Leaf

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Many scientists are turning to mimicking nature to probe its secrets, but Daniel Nocera, the Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy at Harvard University, has gone far beyond his natural model.  Reported in 2012, Nocera came up with the idea of an “artificial leaf,” a silicon sheet with a layer of cobalt-based catalyst that releases oxygen on one side and a layer a nickel-molybdenum-zinc alloy on the other side that releases hydrogen.  Several researchers have followed this initial breakthrough, trying different materials and combinations of ingredients. For a while, it looked as though Nocera turned his attention to battery development, but recent news shows he’s back investigating artificial leaves – with great improvements over his initial efforts – and those of …

Sun Flyer Rollout

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

Yesterday, George Bye’s Aero Electric Aircraft Company (AEAC) rolled out its Sun Flyer, an electric two-seat training aircraft with photo-voltaic cells on the wing and tail to extend its range, and over two or three days, recharge its batteries.  With orders for 65 Sun Flyers already on the books, interest is high in this airplane. In an email, George informed your editor that, “We’re using the Enstroj Emrax 268 high voltage electric motor, rated at 100 kW and 400 volts nominal.  Of course, the motor ‘throttle’ is electronic.” He responded to a query about battery monitoring and protection: “Battery safety is multi-fold.  We monitor cells individually, cells within each ‘battery box’, (with electronic disconnect), battery box system electronic and mechanical …

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 …

Solar Impulse Makes it to Mountain View

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

At 11:44 PDT, April 22, Solar Impulse 2, expertly piloted by Bertrand Piccard through tricky winds above Moffett Airfield, made its second landing in the United State, almost three  years after Solar Impulse 1 had left on its flight eastward* and just in time to close out Earth Day. HB-SIA (Solar Impulse 1) made its trip across America in six hops, none lasting more than 21 hours and 22 minutes.  HB-SIB (Solar Impulse 2) flew six hops between Abu Dhabi and Nanjing, China emulating the stages of the American crossing in distance and duration.  Things reached record-setting levels after that.  The 44-hour trip from Nanjing to Nagoya, Japan gave pilot Andre’ Borschberg a real workout, followed by his record-setting 117-hour …

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 …

One step to Liquid Hydrocarbon Fuels from Thin Air

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

University of Texas at Arlington chemists and engineers have converted carbon dioxide and water directly into useable liquid hydrocarbon fuels – in one step.  The “simple and inexpensive new sustainable fuels technology” used concentrated sunlight, high pressure and heat to remove CO2 from the air and even revert oxygen back into the system. Researchers demonstrated that a one-step conversion of carbon dioxide and water into liquid hydrocarbons and oxygen can be performed in a photothermochemical flow reactor operating at 180 to 200 degrees C and pressures up to six atmospheres. Brian Dennis, UTA professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and co-principal investigator of the project, explains, “We are the first to use both light and heat to synthesize liquid hydrocarbons in a …