RMIT’s Proton Battery – Going with the Flow

Dean Sigler Batteries, Fuel Cells, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Fuel Cell, Flow Battery Professor John Andrews of RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, has announced a “proton battery” that combines features of fuel cells and flow batteries. The first rechargeable battery of its type, it is, as reported in Green Car Congress, “Environmentally friendly, and has the potential, with further development, to store more energy than currently-available lithium ion batteries.”   Interestingly, the battery uses no lithium, but relies on the building blocks of life, carbon and water, for its operation.  In their paper in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Andrews and his fellow researchers explain, “Essentially a proton battery is a reversible PEM [Proton Exchange Membrane, or Polymer Electrolyte Membrane] fuel cell with an integrated solid-state electrode for storing …

Two New and Unique Energy Storage Solutions

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

Lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries of various brands provide energy for Teslas, Leafs, and Bolts, but continue to disappoint by stalled energy density, power density, and safety concerns.  Two relative newcomers to the field might have answers to these concerns.  Unlike many other newcomers, production might be less than five years away. Enovix Corp. Ken Rentmeester, a good friend and retired chemical engineer, volunteers in the local TeenFlight program run by Dick VanGrunsven.  He shared his copy of the IEEE Spectrum containing an article about a new battery company that may have some answers to problems common to lithium batteries. The company’s claims for their Enovix battery are impressive.  “Patented 3D cell architecture, a patented 100% silicon anode, photolithography, and wafer …

Kitty Hawk Flyer Shows Improvements, Limits Continue

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Kitty Hawk Flyer, the Larry Page-backed “sky taxi,” seems like a great summer escape machine. One can learn to fly it in about an hour, but it will remain low and slow enough to give the thrill of flight without inordinate dangers.  That’s the marketing pitch from Kitty Hawk, and it’s not a bad one.  Imagine going to a beach or lake with dozens of these fluttering about over the water’s surface.  It’s the same kind of lure driving go-karts on a miniature race course has for vacationers. Safety is obviously a factor for a machine meant for amateur use.  John Lyon explains this in the Robb Report: “The zero-emissions Flyer is completely powered by electricity, and its propellers all …

UAVOS Triplicates Tandem Flight

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Aeroelastic deformation, the reshaping of wings, tails, and even fuselages on aircraft subjected to the forces surrounding passage through the air, can be destructive, twisting and shaking aircraft surfaces.  UAVOS, a company specializing in flight controls for drones of all sizes, has created a tandem-wing, tri-tailed High-Altitude Psuedo Satellite (HAPS) called ApusDuo. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeroelasticity Wikipedia gives a long and involved discourse on aeroelasticity, but UAVOS gives a lighter, more graphic approach that shows the dangers involved, and UAVOS’ approach to conquering those perils. The firm makes three autopilots for varying sizes of aerial vehicles from those weighing less than 15 kilograms (33 pounds) to up to 1,500 kilograms (3,300 pounds).   UAVOS craft include rotary-wing vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) machines capable …

Sun Flyer 2 to be Powered by Siemens Motor

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

George Bye has been enjoying a year filled with great expectations (and accomplishments).  With 121 deposits on the Bye Aerospace Sun Flyer 2 from seven countries, the training aircraft needs only two things to make dreams come true for a large number of people – a motor and FAA certification. Siemens Steps In In a joint press release, Bye, CEO of Bye Aerospace, announced a partnership with Siemens that will see the German firm “collaborate on future development of Bye Aerospace’s Sun Flyer 2.” Bye explained, “We are pleased to announce an agreement with Siemens to provide the electric propulsion motor and inverter for the Sun Flyer program.  They will be an active partner through the FAA certification and production …

Sustainable Skies in San Francisco – the Sequel

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

Getting personal once more, this entry highlights my adventures at the 2018 Sustainable Aviation Symposium as reported in the first person. The Sustainable Aviation Symposium for 2018 began its Saturday session with J. Philip Barnes, the Senior Technical Fellow at Pelican Aero Group, who expanded an idea he has been developing for several years – that of flying on energy generated and stored by a self-launching sailplane’s motion through the air.  With both a single-seat Coulomb Keeper and larger Faraday First model to analyze, Phil turns to seminal works by Glauert and MacCready to create a motor/generator coupled with a propulsion fan that doubles as a propeller and windmill.  Clever use of switching in the control circuitry should enable high-efficiency …

Following More Money

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

With Uber backing several potential urban flyers, other investors are moving to invest in longer-range craft with smaller, but more exclusive markets. Zunum and JetSuite Sign a Sweet Deal With funding from Boeing’s Horizon X and Jet Blue Technology Ventures, and Washington State’s Clean Energy Fund,  Zunum Aero’s initial batch of hybrid electric aircraft will fly in the livery of JetSuite, a private aviation company that’s a partner of JetBlue Airways. JetSuite’s current offerings include aircraft, “Ranging from the four-passenger Embraer Phenom 100s to the large-cabin, 13-passenger Legacy 650 to our JetSuiteX edition, 30-seat Embraer 135s, the JetSuite fleet offers our clients a variety of options for their aviation needs.” Members and customers can find scheduled flights within JetSuiteX’s California and …

Sustainable Skies in San Francisco

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

I’m writing this in the first person, rather than the usual third-person voice that allows me to remain objective about things on which I report.  In this case, I have been the recipient of much joy over the last ten years from being an observer of the ongoing progress in electric aviation. Dr. Brien Seeley, founder of the Sustainable Aviation Foundation, asked me to begin writing a blog about electric aviation in 2009.  One of my original postings concerned a Kitplanes Magazine contributor, David Ullman – who was this year’s Sustainable Aviation Symposium’s keynote speaker.  In 2009, he predicted a great future for electric aviation – most of which has come to pass, and some of which he is creating …

Referencing Uber’s Elevated Challenge

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

We can tell things are heating up in the electric aircraft marketplace.  Established aircraft companies are investing (Boeing and Airbus for starters), growing numbers are planning for electrified and autonomous future flight (Uber Elevate Summit), and an absolute plethora of new designs are tumbling forth from an aeronautical cornucopia.  Their video of an Uber sky taxi ride illustrates the charm of the idea. A Common Reference Uber provided two common reference eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) reference models for partners to emulate.  Both seem to share a common passenger pod with an unusually long tail boom. Perhaps taking the 2011 Green Flight Challenge as his reference point, Mark Moore explained how Uber inspires others to give their best efforts …

MagniX, an Australian High-Power and Torque-Dense Motor

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A new motor from Australia, the MagniX Magni5, promises 300 kilowatts (402 horsepower) from a 53-kilogram (116.6-pound) package, or about five kW per kilogram.  This is competitive with other power-dense permanent magnet motors. The Magni5 claims an absolutely flat torque curve (more a line, really) from zero to 2,500 rpm, producing 1,000 Newton-meters (737.5 foot-pounds) throughout its revolution range.  This is a great deal like steam locomotive performance.  Its 444 millimeter (17.5 inches) diameter and 275 mm (10.8 inches) size is perfect to hide behind a propeller spinner.  The torque should guarantee a good rate of climb, and might be a worthy candidate for powering a Pikes Peak International Hill Climb contender. The company certainly seems to be on track …