Another Cure for Range Anxiety

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Or at least an approach to provide angst-free cross-country flying, as Michael Friend explained in his Electric Aircraft Symposium presentation last April at Rohnert Park, California.  Friend, a Boeing engineer closely tied to the company’s early fuel cell work, is the owner and pilot of N787M, one of the earliest production kit Silence Twisters.  The Twister is a Spitfire-like, retractable-gear light aircraft capable of cruising 146 on its Jabiru 80-horsepower engine.  It’s capable of full aerobatic flight, and was converted to electric power in Germany for possible airshow demonstrations.  The Twister’s designers also plan a lengthened wing that would make motor gliding possible. Friend noted the difference in energy density between available batteries and gasoline, explaining that 10 kilograms of …

A Sweet Look Into the Future

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Zach Hoisington, an engineer with Boeing Research and Development, proposes an electric airliner concept through the Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research (SUGAR) program.   During the CAFE Foundation’s fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium in Rohnert Park, California in April this year, he shared an amazing array of alternatives.   Making airliners viable in an era of disappearing fossil fuel has caused NASA and aircraft producers to explore different design approaches, including joined wing aircraft, strut-braced wings, and hybrid wing-body configurations. Strategies for doing more with less may include aerial refueling for extended range flight with larger payloads, and formation flights on common routes like those of migrating birds to reduce induced drag.  New sources of power may include hydrogen fuel cells and podded or integral …

Dr. Jaephil Cho’s Powerful Silicon Nanotubes

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Shortly before appearing at the fourth Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium at Rohnert Park, California, Dr. Jaephil Cho was interviewed by Esther Levy of Material Views, an online resource dealing with, as the title implies, high-technology materials.  Dr. Cho, Dean of the new Interdisciplinary School of Green Energy at Ulsan National Institute of Science & Technology (UNIST), works with lithium-ion cells, and along with Dr. Yi Cui of Stanford University, is considered among the most forward thinking researchers in the field. Where Dr. Cui’s efforts are related to development of better cathodes, Dr. Cho’s work focuses on improving anode performance. Their efforts have led to an 80-percent improvement in cathode performance, as reported in Dr. Cui’s presentation at EAS III, and …

CAFE Makes the Top of Kitplanes’ Cover

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

 While at the local magazine store, or the proverbial fine book store, you’ll be able to spot Kitplanes’ August 2010 issue easily.  The yellow letters on the cover line above the magazine title pop with upper-case intensity: “FUTURE SHOCK: CAFE’S Electric Aircraft Symposium.” Not only does the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium get pride of place on the magazine’s cover and in four pages inside, but Marc Cook, editor-in-chief for the publication, titles his “Around the Patch” editorial “Making Electric Aircraft Exciting,” and proceeds to share his surprised discovery of respect for the new Toyota Prius, and to praise the husband-wife team of Bill Dube’ and Eva Hakansson, battery builder and racer, respectively, of Killacycle, the 0-60 in one second electric …

The Electric-Powered Aircraft, A Sequel

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 1 Comment

David Ullman, a professor at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, author,  and owner of his own consulting firm, Robust Decisions, has published part two of his article, “The Electric Powered Aircraft,” that first appeared in Kitplanes’ October 2009 issue (see our October 18, 2009 entry, “Hear the Hum?  Kitplanes Does”) .  You won’t have to rush to the nearest bookstore for the sequel, since this is online in the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Experimenter.  A great deal of the Experimenter is fired up with speculation and skepticism about electric aircraft and their feasibility in the current issue, including an editorial by Patrick Panzera, long-time engine guru and editor of the e-zine.  A great many of the readers’ comments have a “not ready for …

Synergy and Passion at EAS

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Feedback, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

John Palmerlee, Editor of The Flying Wire, Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 124’s newsletter, wote this in the May 5, 2010 edition.   The CAFE Team hosted what was in my opinion a very successful event at the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park, April 23 and 24, 2010. Nearly thirty contributors from around the world spoke at the Electric Aircraft Symposium, and their message was clear: Change is coming… let’s get on board together. Electric airplanes and motorcycles, model airplanes, algae biofuel synthesis, wetlands initiatives, hybrid air carriers, battery breakthroughs, VTOL PAVs, tethered wind generators, flight systems analysis, nanostructures… and a mystery Green Flight Challenge aircraft promising to tap into new design paradigms. This was just a taste of the concepts …

Registration Now Open for EAS IV

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation, Uncategorized 0 Comments

Registration for the Fourth Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium (EAS IV) is now open.  Intense interest in this year’s excellent program, with experts from around the world providing the latest in design, technology, and real-world examples of electric flight, has produced an added benefit for this year’s attendees.   Formal presentations are only one means of exploring a wealth of information at this year’s Symposium.  The CAFE Foundation, hard-pressed to include all presenters, has scheduled Theme Dinners – an opportunity to hear short, thought-provoking presentations and enjoy lively discussions with the faculty, all accompanied by the great food and fine wines for which the Sonoma Valley is renowned.   This expanded program has already drawn an overflow of presenters.  We anticipate a similar high level of interest from …

Half a World Apart, United in Their Research

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 0 Comments

Dr. Yi Cui, a winner of the 2004 MIT Technology Review World Top 100 Young Innovator Award (among other notable awards), and Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University, was a distinguished presenter at the CAFE Foundation’s Third Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium last April. He talked about the structure and manufacturing of lithium-ion cells, and the material limitations placed on the performance of those cells. His breakthrough in using nanowires in the cathode promises an 80-percent gain in the cell’s charge-holding ability, equivalent to ten years of the normal cell improvement of eight percent per year. The good news was somewhat of a letdown for many, who were hoping to hear of a total …