IBM’s 500 Mile Battery Progress

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

According to an article by Simon Fogg on the New Electronics UK web site, “In the early 1900s, electric vehicles were more common than their petrol powered counterparts – and so were steam powered versions, although these allegedly took 45minutes to start.” What we now think of as “alternative energy” vehicles were killed off when the self starter became a common feature on internal-combustion cars. The danger of breaking an arm while cranking the family automobile was gone, and women, who had been big proponents of the salon-like electrics of the day, turned to gasoline power to run errands. With two billion fossil fuel-powered cars pumping their exhausts into a beleaguered atmosphere, the question becomes not whether there will be …

Jonathan Trent and the Omega Project

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Jonathan Trent, a NASA researcher, presented his OMEGA Project at the CAFE Foundation’s 2010 Electric Aircraft Symposium. It promised a simple and practical way to grow oil-rich algae using effluent from city waste, and processing it with sunlight and wave motion in a continuous process. Such a system would clean wastewater, reduce CO2, and provide non-food-stock-based biofuels for transportation. OMEGA, “Offshore Membrane Enclosure for Growing Algae”, is now a more complex system as Dr. Trent and at least three research teams develop the technology in the San Francisco Bay Area and at Santa Cruz on the nearby California coast. In this TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) lecture from 2011 Dr. Trent gives an update on the process and how it can …

Joules in Her Crown

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One of the favorite speakers at the Electric Aircraft Symposia sponsored by the CAFE Foundation, Eva Håkansson is more than just a great talker. She recently topped 216 miles per hour in KillaJoule, her streamlined electric sidecar motorcycle. She built 80 percent of the 250-horsepower vehicle herself over two and one-half years. An engineering graduate student at the University of Denver, Eva and her husband Bill Dube’ hold world records on and in their electric motorcycles. Eva managed to come within three mph of the world record internal-combustion powered for sidecars on the salt flat. She also managed a world record for the flying mile, going through the traps at 191.488 mph – the record awaiting American Motorcycle Association certification.  …

Silent Falcon – A Solar-Powered UAV

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While Boeing and AeroVironment proceed with stratospheric, hydrogen-powered giants such as the Phantom Eye and the Global Observer for extremely long-range surveillance and monitoring duties, an Albuquerque, New Mexico company is exploring the potential of a small, lower-altitude, hand-launched craft that can search – and if necessary – destroy. A recent report from Volta Volare’s Paul Peterson attending the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conclave in Las Vegas, Nevada and an email from George Bye, Chairman and CEO of Bye Aerospace, alerted your editor to the new reconnaissance aircraft. George wrote, “While the electric Cessna program continues to advance under the leadership of Charlie Johnson and a new name, ‘Beyond Aviation’, we have continued our research into solar-electric hybrid propulsion …

Annual Personal Aircraft Design Academy Dinner and Presentation at AirVenture 2012

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Brien Seeley, President of the CAFE Foundation, and Program Chair for the Personal Aircraft Design Academy (PADA), announces that the group’s catered buffet “networking” dinner will be followed by a special meeting for top aircraft designers, enthusiasts and aero engineers as part of AirVenture 2012 at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. His announcement highlights the following: “The dinner will be at 6:15 p. m. on Friday July 27 at the Memorial Wall Tent near the Air Academy Lodge, with the PADA meeting following at 7:30 PM in the air-conditioned Vette Theatre inside the AirVenture Museum, a short walk from the tent. “This year, we’ve made it easy to register online in advance for the limited seating available. Please visit this site now …

Living Up To a Standard

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Ron Gremban is an early developer of plug-in electric hybrid (PHEV) automobiles, having helped convert hundreds of Toyota Priuses to extend their electric-only range and make them even more practical real-world automobiles. His 2008 writing on the differences between the Prius and Chevrolet’s Volt shows an ability to consider the actual physics and engineering involved rather than allowing the heat of the debate to obscure the realities. Backing from Dr. Andrew Frank of UC Davis gives further credibility to Gremban’s views. Given his demonstrated abilities and his dispassionate vision, it’s no surprise that Gremban would look at projected electric flight in ways that haven’t yet occurred to its most ardent promoters. On April 27, at the Friday evening Motors theme dinner, …

Fastest Electric Vehicle Design at EAS VI

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Brien Seeley, President of the CAFE Foundation, has made the following announcement: “The Chief designer of the F-22 Raptor has prepared another spectacular design: The World’s Fastest Electric Vehicle. This new aircraft design will be presented along with the other outstanding talks at next week’s CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium, April 27, 28 in Santa Rosa, California (Sonoma Wine Country). This symposium, dedicated to the burgeoning new domain of emission-free flight, now has representatives from Boeing, Bosch, IBM, Honda, Nortrhop-Grumman, Japan Air Lines, Rolls-Royce, Siemens, Aerovironment, FAA, Cummins, Cessna, Lycoming and many other companies enrolled to participate.” The high-speed electric may be a response to Ivo Boscarol’s pledge to put up $100,000 of his Pipistrel G-4 winnings at last year’s …

New FAI Records for Electric Flight

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Jean Luc Soullier of Belgium claimed three world records for electric aircraft in the FAI RAL1E (microlight electric, single place, landplane with moveable aerodynamic controls) sub-class on February 2, 2012 at Sisteron, France – home of Electravia. All three records are being scrutinized by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. Soullier attained an altitude of 2,401 meters (7,877 feet), covered 50.27 kilometers (31.17 miles) over a closed circuit course without landing, and averaged 136.36 kilometers per hour (84.54 mph) for that distance. All records are claimed in Soullier’s Colomban MC-30 Luciole, powered by a Lynch-type motor and controller supplied by Electravia. These are not the MC-30’s or Soullier’s first records. He set a speed record on a 15 kilometer course with the …

Pipistrel G4 Nominated for Collier Trophy

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Taja Boscarol, Public Relations Manager for Pipistrel, sends this news today: “The Pipistrel Taurus G4, world’s first 4-seat electric aircraft, was nominated for the prestigious Collier Trophy. “The Collier Trophy, the ‘Greatest Award in Aviation,’ has been the benchmark of aviation and aerospace achievement for over 100 years.  Awarded annually, ‘…for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America,’ it has been bestowed upon some of the most important projects, programs, individuals, and accomplishments in our nation’s history.” Collier-winning individuals have included the crews of Apollo 11 and 8, Mercury 7, Scott Crossfield, Elmer Sperry and Howard Hughes.  Projects and Programs have included the B-52, Polaris Missile, Surveyor Moon Landing Program, Boeing 747, Cessna Citation, Gulfstream V, the F-22 …

Better Batteries: Powers of Ten

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The CAFE Foundation in its Electric Aircraft Symposia has put forth the idea of the 10X battery for many years.  Dr. Seeley therefore found a great deal of excitement in the following news. Researchers at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois have perhaps achieved part of that dream, with a graphene and silicon anode that yields a 10-times-faster charge and can hold a charge 10 times greater than that of a typical lithium-ion battery. Claiming their technology will be on the market in three to five years, the researchers have published a paper describing the research in the journal Advanced Energy Materials. A University press release explains.  “’We have found a way to extend a new lithium-ion battery’s charge life by …