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 …

Combining the Best Features of Balsa Wood, Ceramics and NERF®

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

California Institute of Technology (CalTech) floats this imaginary trial balloon to elicit interest in a new material developed by materials scientist Julia Greer and her colleagues.  “Imagine a balloon that could float without using any lighter-than-air gas. Instead, it could simply have all of its air sucked out while maintaining its filled shape. Such a vacuum balloon, which could help ease the world’s current shortage of helium, can only be made if a new material existed that was strong enough to sustain the pressure generated by forcing out all that air while still being lightweight and flexible.” Not only are the scientists achieving the strong, lightweight part of the equation, they are “on the path” to making their new material …

Dennis Bushnell: Envisioning a Plausible, Positive Future

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Consider that Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Benjamin Santer of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) kicked off the first day of the 2011 Electric Aircraft Symposium with a highly-detailed examination of the issues surrounding climate change.  That required an equally adept presenter to expound on possible solutions for worldwide problems, and EAS 5 delivered with Dennis Bushnell, NASA’s Chief Scientist at Langley Research Center. According to one biography, he is “responsible for Technical Oversight and Advanced Program formulation for a major NASA Research Center with technical emphasis in the areas of Atmospheric Sciences and Structures, Computational Sciences and Systems Optimization for Aeronautics, Spacecraft, Exploration and Space Access. He has 43 years’ experience working in the leading edge of …