Hydrogen Scooters – A Possible Power Source?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Amateur aircraft builders, like Francis Marlier of the ULM Club in Alsace, France who recently converted his Exelec to a Sunexelec with the addition of solar cells, are always looking for reasonable options for powering their airplanes. Perhaps they could turn to fuel cells as a range extender. Several motor scooter makers are bringing out fuel-cell powered models that show some promise despite limited performance and high prices so far. Intelligent Energy, an English company, demonstrated a fuel cell scooter in 2005, and a number of aircraft developers, including Boeing, have crafted fuel-cell-powered vehicles. Intelligent Energy’s ENV was reportedly the world’s first purpose-built fuel cell motorbike, and Top Gear’s James May enjoyed the quiet ride, if only moderately endorsing the …

Alpaero’s Exel Goes Electric

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Alpaero, a small firm in the southern French alps (hence its name?) created an ultralight sailplane/motorglider about 10 years ago that was originally powered by a two-stroke engine.  Recently, though, it’s gone green with a four-stroke, Briggs & Stratton engine and even greener with an electric motor version. Claude Noin, the designer, wanted to answer the request for a “light autonomous sailplane at a reasonable cost,” able to meet ULM (ultralight) qualifications.  The fixed engine behind the cockpit configuration avoids the complexity of the retractable engine configuration, which Alpaero says can increase drag two or even three times over that of the “clean” sailplane when the engine or motor is extended.  As Dick Van Grunsven has pointed out, the need …

Elektra One Flies Into Oshkosh with Solar Cells

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

As described before in this blog, PC-Aero’s Elektra One is a single-seat electric airplane with an Eck/Geiger 13.5 kilowatt motor in the nose, and now at least partially solar powered. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r03nim-6qBw&feature=related Designer Calin Gologan gives a walkthrough of the design features which make Elektra One such an efficient airplane, and one likely to give other competitors in the Green Flight Challenge a good run.  While he describes the thin carbon-fiber shells which comprise the airplane’s primary structure, notice the light shining through.  That thinness helps explain Elektra One’s 100 kilogram (220 pounds) empty weight, only about 100 pounds of which is structure.  The motor is 4.7 kilogram (10.34 pounds) and the controller is a 270 gram (9-1/2 ounce) model airplane …