Earth, Air, Water and Jet Fire

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Diesel Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince The SOLAR-JET project (Solar chemical reactor demonstration and Optimization for Long-term Availability of Renewable JET fuel. or SOLAR-JET) pulls carbon dioxide from the air, mixes it with water and exposes the mix to 1,500 degree (Centigrade) concentrated solar energy and makes a synthetic natural gas, with oxygen as the only exhaust.  Attempting to produce a useable fuel from CO2 has been an obsession for many over several decades.  Attempts to capture and store CO2 are expensive and usually only hide the carbon, ostensibly for eternity. SOLAR-JET explains its objectives …

Researchers Strike Battery Fools Gold on Two Continents

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Materials, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Better, Cheaper, Faster.  That was the mantra when your editor worked in the semiconductor manufacturing world.  Designs, processes and materials were all recalibrated constantly to enable the march toward those three goals.  And to some extent, constant repetition helped us achieve the ideal of Moore’s Law, the dictum that computer chips would double the number of transistors they contained every two years.  Transistor density in computer chips determines the level of performance they can achieve, and this doubling has yet to reach its end. Unfortunately, batteries haven’t doubled in performance every two years, but seem to follow an annual five-to-eight-percent increase in energy density.  This would mean, at best, that energy densities would double every nine years.  The Tesla Forum notes …

Formula Student Winners Show New Direction

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

First, recall the recent 24 Hours of Le Mans.  The first five finishers out of 56 starters in the race were hybrid vehicles.  Then think of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this year.  For the first time, an electric motorcycle outpaced all other bikes and one manufacturer, Zero Motorcycles, entered six bikes, three of which broke the existing record for electric motorcycles on the mountain. Now consider an event that is not as well known in the U. S., but which shows the direction that young engineers are taking in Europe.  Formula Student, a competition bringing together the work of 2,000 students from around the world, saw the first two places taken handily by electric vehicles for the first …