Paris to London Using No Fossil Fuels

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

Jeff Engler fired up a start-up, Wright Electric, about a year ago.  Last week, he presented at the Y Combinator Winter 2017 Demo Day – a semi-annual event where venture capitalists can meet the latest in venturesome mendicants.  Tech Crunch describes the firm’s goals, which include electric flights between London and Paris on no fossil fuels – ambitious to say the least. “Wright Electric wants to build the world’s first electric airplane (at least the first 150 seat electric airliner). One of the main reasons airlines like Southwest can offer low fares is that they pre-purchase gas, but Wright sees an opportunity to make flights even cheaper by using electric planes instead. The company is targeting the 30 percent of …

Mike Friend’s Hybrid Electric Solution

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Electric airplanes currently can give 15 or 20 minutes of intense aerobatics, or about an hour of more sedate cruising.  What if you had a lovely little airplane that invited flinging it about the sky, but you still wanted to visit distant places?  In 2005, Mike Friend owned a Silence Twister, a Spitfire-like single-seater registered as N787M, a nod to Mike’s employer, Boeing.  He thought about making it a hybrid craft. Waiting for Batteries An early effort around 2010 by a German company to electrify the Twister did not produce a surge of orders, and Mike presented a 2011 symposium feature on making a hybrid out of the Twister to reduce its fuel burn while retaining its frisky character.  That …

Boeing Adds Solar Winglets to Its Solar High-Flyer

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Despite having a wing, horizontal tail, and fuselage top full of solar cells, Solar Impulse 2 needs long days and short nights to make it through the dark periods between recharging.  Even Eric and Irena Raymond’s SunSeeker Duo, a more practical machine, performs only day-long flights so far. Part of this is the nature of sunlight and solar cells, both of which are limited in small areas.  Despite the fact that every hour, each square meter of the upper atmosphere receives 1.367kWh of solar energy, and National Geographic claims that “Every hour the sun beams onto Earth more than enough energy to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year,” it’s hard to harness that energy on a relatively small …

SeaTac, Boeing, Alaska Airlines Partner on Biofuel

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Aviation accounts for about two-to-three percent of the total CO2 emitted through burning fossil fuels, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). That’s even with military jets flashing their afterburners and trailing un-enhanced high-altitude contrails. Whether these emissions add to global warming or global cooling seems to be still open to debate. Regardless, almost everyone in the industry feels it is worth eliminating the negative aspects of aircraft emissions. Sea-Tac’s Big Plan Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Alaska Airlines and Boeing are partnering to power all flights from Sea-Tac with “sustainable aviation biofuel.” The trio has crafted a long-term roadmap to devise an infrastructure “in a cost-effective, efficient manner.” There may be benefits to the local economy, as well as to …

Singapore Firm, Boeing Team Up on Hydrogen

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

EV World reports that a Singapore-based company, Horizon Energy Systems, has test flown the world’s first hydrogen powered quadracopter, a small UAV that is claimed to fly for hours, instead of the minutes a lithium battery pack would provide. The report asks that tantalizing question for all who suffer from range anxiety, especially while in flight.  “What if you could increase flying time by a factor of ten? Instead of half-an-hour, you could keep the UAV flying for five hours, and then charge it in a couple minutes time? That’s what Singapore-based Horizon Energy Systems is promising. They have developed micro fuel cells that can be fueled by three types of hydrogen storage systems from small compressed gas cylinders to ‘on-demand’ hydrogen …

Good News and a Bright Future from EAS IX

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Sitting next to your editor for the first day of CAFE’s ninth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium, Paul Bertorelli from AVweb, took copious notes, made sound recordings, and during coffee and lunch breaks and in after-hours sessions, interviewed the accomplished faculty at the Symposium.  His thorough and far-reaching reports appear in his last several days’ postings to AVweb.  Having stressed mightily while attempting to take understandable notes from each speaker’s talk, your editor can only be impressed by Paul’s super reportorial abilities, and his communicating the scope and importance of what took place at EAS IX. From your editor’s perspective, several significant things took place this year.  Senior leadership from Airbus and Siemens presented talks affirming their companies’ commitment to making …

Desert + Salt Water = Jet Fuel

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Masdar, the United Arab Emirate’s clean energy development program, is hosting Solar Impulse as it prepares for its around-the-world flight.  Beyond that, Masdar comprises five business units: Masdar Capital, Masdar Clean Energy, Special Projects, Masdar City and Free Zone, and Masdar Institute, “an independent, research-driven graduate university. Masdar Institute of Science and Technology is a multi-faceted research center, which although small at this time, seems to be fairly prodigious in the output of patents, patents pending and academic papers. The Institute heads a program to use “coastal seawater to raise fish and shrimp for food, whose nutrient-rich wastewater then fertilizes oil-rich halophyte plants that can be harvested for aviation biofuel production.”  Halophytes, as those who’ve listened to or read Dennis …

Boeing and Embraer Embrace on Biofuels

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Brazil may become a central research and manufacturing site for biofuels, with Boeing and Embraer opening a joint sustainable biofuel research center, something that will rely on Brazil’s fertile land to supply non-food plants with which to make jet fuel.  Working in the Boeing-Embraer Joint Research Center in the São José dos Campos Technology Park, opened in January 2014, the companies are continuing to “focus on technologies that address gaps in creating a sustainable aviation biofuel industry in Brazil, such as feedstock production, techno-economic analysis, economic viability studies and processing technologies.” Boeing’s Research & Technology-Brazil (BR&T-Brazil) Center, one of the company’s six international advanced research centers, leads the collaboration with Embraer and works with Brazil’s research-and-development community “to grow Brazil’s …

Adam and Jamie are Paying Attention

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Seeley alerted your editor this morning that Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman’s web site, Tested.com, featured an entry on electric aircraft, “Fuel-Free Flight: the State of Electric Airplanes,” by Terry Dunn.  Dunn does a good job of covering history and advantages of electric aircraft – complete with a quote from Dr. Seeley about the good neighbor aspect of quiet electric airplanes. He also discusses the barriers to electric aircraft development beyond current motor gliders and light aircraft – mainly the question of obtaining batteries that have much better energy densities than those currently available. “The batteries currently available are adequate to provide suitable range for some flyers. As the pool of available batteries improves, so will the range of …

EAS VIII: Dr. Jaiwon Shin Brings NASA to CAFE

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The CAFE Foundation was honored this year to have Dr. Jaiwon Shin, Associate Director for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), speak at the eighth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium.  His responsibilities at the agency, and his earnest regard for CAFE and its direction were evident during his talk. According to his NASA biography, “Dr. Jaiwon Shin…  manages the agency’s aeronautics research portfolio and guides its strategic direction. This portfolio includes research in the fundamental aeronautics of flight, aviation safety and the nation’s airspace system.”  Such tasks include overseeing the next generation (NextGen) air traffic control system, funding promising research projects, crafting policies that will assure ongoing progress in creating cleaner, safer flight vehicles, and coordinating …