Ampaire’s Second Electric Eel Sets Record

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

There are now two Ampaire electric EELs* flying, courtesy of Ampaire Aviation.  The second test vehicle recently set a world record, staying in the air for two hours and 32 minutes, covering 341 miles at an average speed of “around 135 mph.” A six-seat Cessna 337 “Skymaster,” the “push-pull” twin has been modified by Ampaire “with an electric motor in the nose and traditional [internal] combustion engine in the rear.  The paired powerplants act as a parallel hybrid, both electric and ICE units providing thrust simultaneously. Ampaire flew an electric-and-gas-powered Cessna 337 this year. With assistance from Ikhana, a modification and conversion specialist,  Ampaire replaced the 337’s rear engine (which drives a pusher prop) with an electric propulsion system, leaving …

Wright Electric, ARPA-E, and Life’s Report Card

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

If, as the infamous cartoon in the New Yorker proclaimed, “Money is life’s report card,” Jeff Engler’s Wright Electric got a least a B+ for its current semester.  While not as flush with cash as firms like Joby Aviation, eHang, or Volocopter, Wright received significant recognition for its initiative in designing high-efficiency electric motors with a high-frequency inverter and “an aggressive cooling strategy.”  The $647,039 ARPA-E grant will further Wright’s work on the ARPA-E ASCEND Project. ASCEND stands for Aviation-class Synergistically Cooled Electric-motors with iNtegrated Drives, a sure-fire Scrabble winner and pretty tortuous acronym. Phase one of the project takes the team through the detailed design and subcomponent testing for the system.  Phase two will see Wright build and demonstrate …

Black-silicon Cell Efficiency above 130 Percent

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

Aalto University in Espoo, Finland has announced a seemingly impossible breakthrough – black-silicon solar cells that exceed 100-percent efficiency.  This breaks the Shockley-Queisser limit, previously thought to be an unbreakable barrier to any solar cell generating more than 33.7-percent efficiency for a single p-n junction photovoltaic cell.  The 1,000 Watts of sunlight falling on a square meter of single-junction solar cells could never produce more than 337 Watts to a battery or other receiving mechanism.  William Shockley, a co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics for his co-creation of the transistor and Hans-Joachim Queisser defined this limit at Shockley Semiconductor in 1961. In a traditional solid-state semiconductor such as silicon, a solar cell is made from two doped crystals.  One is an n-type semiconductor, which has extra free electrons, …

NAWA’s Straight Line Electrode to More Power

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Most battery breakthroughs are five years in the future, following the basic rules of scientific journals and Popular Science magazine.  The usual refrains are, “Further research is required,” and “Researchers expect commercial development within the next decade.”  Rather than wait for the future, NAWA Technologies claims the world’s fastest electrode today and production now. NAWA’a brochure explains their Vertically Aligned Carbon NanoTube (VACNT) architecture is “key to its next-generation energy storage.”   Think of a forest of carbon nanotubes through which current can flow.  In the jumble of usual battery materials, an ion would have to clamber over boulder-like obstructions and possibly get hung up in the random intersections of conductive material.  The VACNT architecture allows ionic flow as though they …

MissionGO Drones Make Medical Deliveries

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The Nevada desert near Las Vegas formed a dramatic backdrop for the delivery of a kidney and corneas to a simulated emergency surgery site this last week.  MissionGO’s rotary-wing drone delivered the kidney on one flight and the corneas on another – just to clarify. This cooperative effort among Mission GO’s technology and the Nevada Donor Network’s (an organ procurement organization, or OPO) fearless supporters proved a huge success.  The Network’s numbers provide the impetus for this project.  According to their web site 650 Nevadans and 110,099 Americans await transplants, ranging from hearts to pancreases.  1,447,906 potential donors are signed up in Nevada alone – a heartening circumstance and disheartening pun. MissionGO President  Anthony Pucciarella, explained, “These flights are an …

ZEROe on the Rise at Airbus

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

ZEROe Airbus, taking a new direction, announced that they are, “Exploring game-changing concept aircraft – known as ZEROe – powered by hydrogen, a disruptive zero-emission technology with the potential to reduce aircraft emissions by up to 50%.” Two seem to be evolutionary, employing a different fuel and powertrain within fairly conventional airframes.  The third, a blended-wing body (BWB) structure, emulates Boeing’s and NASA’s BWB.  All three, though, employ hydrogen to meet the planet’s need to reduce or eliminate carbon dioxide and other emissions.  All three use hydrogen hybrid power systems. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in a 2019 report looked at the different electric and hybrid systems available.  The organization included a factor examined before in this blog.  “The …

A Dash of Hydrogen

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Getting the Parts Free, Charged for Refills What if future flight had a simple “return the old fuel container and get a new one” business model?  Paul Eremenko, founder of California startup Universal Hydrogen, wants to try it out in a Dash 8 airliner equipped with two 2-megawatt motors supplied by MagniX. Poor analogy perhaps, but in his boyhood, your editor had a camera that was sold at the store complete with a roll of film already inside.  All you had to do when you took all your pictures was send it by mail, with a check or money order, and a week later, you got the reloaded camera back with the prints and negatives of your pictures.  This klunky, …

ZeroAvia First Out of the Gate with Hydrogen Flight

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An Historic Hydrogen Outing While Airbus and MagniX promote the near- and not-so-near virtues of hydrogen-powered flight, ZeroAvia has demonstrated such flight with the largest H2-powered aircraft so far.  Their Cranfield, England-based Piper Malibu flew on H2 power for the first time September 24 on an eight-minute circuit.  The blue Malibu reached 1,000 feet and a top speed of 100 knots true air speed. Quick to capitalize on the successful mission, , ZeroAvia founder and CEO Val Miftakhov held a press conference the next day.  In it, he explained his team,“has had discussions with seven aircraft manufacturers about possible retrofit and new-build applications for the propulsion system. He said the company has signed letters of intent with 10 airlines that …

End the Year on a Volocopter Note

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Volocopter has an exciting way to end 2020, leaving the old year with a ticket for your future flight in a VoloCity VC 2-1 aircraft (the “Aircraft”).  Fine print, spelled out in the eight-page General Terms & Conditions for the Volocopter World Premiere Ticket Program, might cause the hesitant to pause. The more adventurous among us will start planning an overseas trip two or three years from now. Here’s the Deal “Berlin, 16 September 2020 — At Greentech Festival in Berlin today, Volocopter, the pioneer of Urban Air Mobility (UAM), announced that the world’s first public sale for electrical air taxi flight reservations has started. Effective immediately, Volocopter fans world-wide can reserve their tickets online and be amongst the very …

E2 Glide – Electrifying Sailplane Competitions

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Uwe Beger, competition director for a new form of sailplane contenst, wrote this in response to our entry on the Pipistrel Velis’ multiple records flying from Switzerland to the North Sea.  “From August 29th to September 5th 2020 fifteen pilots from 6 different nations flew a cross country flying contest (E2 Glide), where the usage of electric engines (Front Electric Sustainers as well as Retractable Electric Engines) was allowed within some contingent of 2 up to 2.5 kWh per flight. Altogether the participants managed to fly a distance of nearly 10,000km (6,214 miles) with the use of 150 kWh of energy in sum.”  That’s about 41.4 miles per kilowatt hour. “Not that bad compared to the world records of the …