Biofuels from Many Sources

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

We’ve looked at an array of different biofuel sources ranging from used cooking oil and algae to farm and municipal waste.  This is essential as the percentage of airline emissions becomes a bigger part of our overall greenhouse gas situation.   The Guardian reports, “A 2017 estimate said air travel accounted for 2.5% of all carbon dioxide emissions, with the total emissions expected to quadruple by 2050.”We’ll look here at how some of the early efforts have panned out and examine a late-breaking surprise or two. Mustard Seeds? According to the Guardian, “A Qantas plane powered partly by mustard seeds has become the world’s first biofuel flight between Australia and the United States, after landing in Melbourne on [January 30, 2018].” …

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 …

Battery Startup Cuberg Receives Funding from Boeing

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Cuberg, a battery startup “Founded based on graduate research work in the materials science department at Stanford,” includes individuals who worked with Yi Cui at the school.  They promote their safe electrolyte as a key element in their new battery.  “Our highly stable proprietary electrolyte enables the use of high-voltage cathodes and lithium metal anodes in a safe and reliable format.” Their video shows the relative safety of that premise.  It starts, though, with a quick review of their manufacturing techniques, which are similar to standard methods used in most batteries. The team, headed by Richard Wang, “Entrepreneur and Battery Scientist,” includes co-founder Mauro Pasta, an Associate Professor at Oxford University.  His Linked In profile includes this note: “Cuberg is …

AirSpaceX is NOT an Elon Musk Company

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

Airspace Experience Technologies, LLC (AirSpaceX) is a subsidiary of Detroit Aircraft Corporation (DAC), and as far as this editor knows, not related to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.  A little closer to earth, the planned low-altitude perambulations of its two creations reflect the growing interest in “sky taxis.” A Holding Company Brought Down by the Great Depression Jon Rimanelli, founder and CEO, sees Detroit Aircraft Corporation as an attempt to return the Motor City to its former glory days as a leader in aircraft development.  He notes that for a few brief years, DAC held controlling interests in the Ryan and Lockheed Aircraft companies, and created the only metal-clad airship in aeronautical history, The ZMC-2.  He explains, “Back in the ’20s, Detroit …

Ballard and Insitu Team on Fuel Cell-Driven Drone

Dean Sigler Announcements, Fuel Cells, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Another pair of heavy-duty partners, Ballard Power Systems of Canada, normally powering city buses; and Boeing, through its subsidiary Insitu, team to create and fly viable fuel cell systems for drones.  Insitu’s ScanEagle is already a world-beater for range and endurance, but it uses an internal-combustion engine (ICE), that although frugal, is not entirely green. Green Car Congress reports, “ScanEagle is 1.55 meters (5.1 feet) in length, has a wingspan of 3.11 meters (10.2 feet) and [a] maximum takeoff weight of 22 kilograms (48.5 lbs). The UAV can fly at a maximum speed of 41.2 meters per second (80 knots), reach a ceiling of 5,944 meters (19,500 feet),”  and has flown over one million mission hours, making it a leader in …

Mike Friend Talks Hybrids in Beijing

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

Mike Friend spent 36 years with Boeing, rising to positions as Chief Engineer and Technology Director.  His technical and linguistics abilities helped make him a world traveler, creating the first fuel-cell powered airplane in Spain, for instance, in 2002 through 2008, when the demonstrator craft first flew.  That was the first of many hybrid designs Mike would work on, with samples of his work on display this month in Beijing.  At the E-Flight Forum, sponsored by Siemens, he held forth on single-, two-, and five-seat configurations that could benefit from hybrid power. His talk, “Hybrid electric aircraft concepts, and a rational approach to success,” explained his reasoning for being enthusiastic about hybrids and showed different ways hybrid technology could be …

Doing More with Less – BLI on a Big Scale

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

Hybrid and electric cars sell because they lower operating costs for the owner.  Designers and manufacturers sort out ways to increase efficiency, including streamlining, using low-rolling-resistance tires, and making structures lighter.  An added technology, boundary layer ingestion (BLI) may add to aircraft efficiency. NASA and industry leaders are working on equivalent solutions for aircraft, and airplanes will end up as different from today’s designs as Toyota Priuses and BMW i3s are from Ford Falcons or Chevrolet Corvettes.  NASA proclaims, “An aviation renaissance, one focused on energy efficiency and economic impact, is on the horizon, and it’s changing how engineers look at aircraft power and design.” Jim Heidmann, a manager of NASA’s Advanced Air Transport Technology Project (AATT), says, “I feel we …

GoFly and Win Big Prizes

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

“Have You Ever Dreamed of Flying?” Boeing asks, and answers its own question: “We’re making that dream a reality.”  Well, actually, the person entering HeroX and Boeing’s GoFly competition will make their own dream a reality, and possibly win substantial sums in the process. Abundance Insider, an Internet outreach from Peter Diamandis, himself well-acquainted with prize competitions, gives an excellent short rundown on the competition. “What it is: HeroX recently announced the GoFly Prize, sponsored by Boeing — a $2 million challenge to create a personal flying machine that is useful, safe and thrilling (italics by the editor). The goal is to foster the development of a safe, quiet, ultra-compact, near-VTOL personal flying device capable of flying 20 miles while …

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 …