Load-Bearing Supercapacitors

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

What if your battery served also as a wing or a fuselage?  Several current efforts converge on creating batteries or supercapacitors that could function as structural elements in electric vehicles.  We’ve reported on this before, with efforts by Dr. Emil Greenhalgh at Imperial College London and associated work by Volvo to make car components from the type of energy storing sandwich structure he developed.  Your editor’s article on the “Grand Unified Airplane” in the July 2013 issue of Kitplanes magazine advanced the idea that such structures, coupled with graphene’s projected capabilities to collect solar energy, could lead to a self-powering aircraft.  (In researching the current entry, he found that his idea had been done at model scale by BAE.) Reports …

Solar Impulse 2 Ready to Take on the World

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Even while the first Solar Impulse was scaling the Alps, traversing the Moroccan desert, and crossing America, skilled craftsmen and women were designing and building Solar Impulse 2, a larger, heavier solar-powered airplane rolled out this week.  Its next challenge, that of flying around the world, will test the limits of even this seasoned team. As shown on the first Solar Impulse’s flights, “Flying the Solar Impulse aircraft is quite different from being at the commands of any other airplane. Flight tactics, piloting skills, aerodynamics had to be re-learned from scratch.”  Part of the difference comes from the aircraft’s huge size and light weight.  Solar Impulse shares this:  “Here’s a fun fact for you to understand how special this aircraft is: …