Making Algae More Productive

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The Blog has looked at several algae-to-fuel manufacturers in its postings, and the U. S. Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado adds its name to that growing list, but not in the usual commercial way.   NREL claims to have developed a “unique bioreactor,” otherwise known as their Simulated Algal Growth Environment (SAGE) reactor, which controls light and temperature to test different strains of algae and simulates various locations in the United States where particular spores would be most prolific. NREL’s hope is to use SAGE to “produce algae that could someday compete with renewable diesel, cellulosic ethanol, and other petroleum alternatives as transportation fuel.” “It does so by revealing the intricate biochemical rearrangements that algae …

Taking Paper Batteries to the Next Level – Origami

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Almost four years ago, this blog reported on Dr. Yi Cui’s “painted battery,” a method of coating even paper with carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires, with the coated paper being able to store energy. Adding origami to the concept, Arizona State University researchers have folded a paper-based lithium-ion battery and managed to demonstrate a 14-fold increase in areal energy, or energy density per unit of area.  This has serious implications for batteries that can be printed on roll paper and which have the requisite flexibility.  More rigid batteries might crack under the strain, for instance, and achieve negative results from being folded. “’Foldable batteries may be useful for powering devices that have limited space on board,’ coauthor Candace Chan, Assistant …

Transformative EV Range Expansion?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

In what may be eventual good news for future electric aviators, the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) will award approximately $36 million to 22 projects to develop transformational electric vehicle (EV) energy storage systems using innovative chemistries, architectures and designs.  ARPA-E also uses the term, “revolutionary.” The series of awards is part of the RANGE program (Robust Affordable Next Generation Energy Storage Systems), intended “to enable a 3X increase in electric vehicle range (from ~80 to ~240 miles per charge) with a simultaneous price reduction of > 1/3 (to ~ $30,000). If successful, these vehicles will provide near cost and range parity to gasoline-powered ICE vehicles, ARPA-E said.” “Transformational” comes straight from the CAFE …

FAA Awards for Commuter Liners of the Future

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

In a series of far-reaching competitions for university students, the FAA has opened the gates on innovation for new aircraft and airport infrastructure design. Announcing the winners of its Design Competition for Universities, the FAA awarded three prizes in the Electric/Hybrid Electric Aircraft Competition.  In doing so, it acknowledged the pioneering work of the CAFE Foundation and NASA in promoting the original Green Flight Challenge, generously supported by sponsorship from Google. “Recently, the Green Flight Challenge and efforts of general aviation manufacturers and others have demonstrated flight using electric motors on general aviation aircraft. Under NASA’s Subsonic Fixed Wing Project, aircraft and engine manufacturers identified key technology capabilities required for electric and hybrid-electric propulsion of single aisle aircraft, expected by …

Algae Biofuels Producers, NASA Combine Forces

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

OriginOil and Algasol are two algae–to-oil producers who’ve joined forces to cultivate and harvest micro algae that can perhaps “reach a tipping point and compete with petroleum.” Algasol’s process perhaps most closely resembles that shown by NASA scientist Dr. Johnathan Trent, which he presented at the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium.  His OMEGA, “Offshore Membrane Enclosure for Growing Algae” relies on water motion and sunlight to churn treated wastewater that otherwise would be literally dumped into the ocean into a refineable algae.  Waste CO2 can also be used to generate algae, another “two-fer” that would clean up the environment while providing a literally green fuel source. In their joint press release, the two firms explain, “Algasol’s floating bags or photobioreactors …