Two “New” Battery Contenders

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

With Tesla’s announcement that its new battery pack for its Rev. 3 Roadster will increase the car’s range to as much as 400 miles (your mileage may vary), two contenders are putting proclaiming equivalent or better performance from their unique technologies.  These companies are relatively new, but have fairly long development histories.  They are both moving toward commercializing what otherwise would be academic demonstrations of their technologies. EnerG2 – Taking Carbon to New Levels A Seattle, Washington-based materials development firm, EnerG2’s Carbon Technology Platform (CTP), is based upon a polymer chemistry foundation, and according to the company, “represents an ability to engineer and synthesize high-performance, uniquely tailored high-purity carbons, at large scale and low cost.”  The company makes CTP materials …

Will VW Take on Tesla?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Volkswagen just bought a five-percent stake in a startup company called QuantumScape, a commercial spinoff of work done at Stanford University’s Nanoscale Prototyping Laboratory for Energy Conversion and Storage.  The Labroratory’s head, Fritz B. Prinz, Finmeccanica Professor of Engineering and Robert Bosch Chairman of Mechanical Engineering, explains: “Our team creates, models, and prototypes nanoscale structures to understand the physics of electrical energy conversion and storage. We are exploring the relation between size, composition, and the kinetics of charge transfer. We are also interested in learning from nature, in particular by studying the electron transport chain in plant cells.” (Note that the QuantumScape web site is curiously without detail, showing only four pretty pictures and making three or four non-controversial statements. …

Batteries, Fuel Cells – or Something Else?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

We’re coming to a parting of the ways in energy storage development for electric cars.  Or we may be coming to a joining of technologies in new and previously unimagined ways.  One side, led by Elon Musk and his Tesla Empire, promotes battery power and development.  Yet, in Tesla’s home state of California, government and private investments in hydrogen vehicles is growing.   Several Asian and European automakers are bringing out fuel cell powered vehicles in the face of low numbers of existing fueling stations.  For all the promotion from either side, future “green” cars may become too expensive for private ownership, and various approaches to providing personal mobility may replace the traditional owner-driver model.  Regardless of the outcomes or market …

Three Candidates for the Coming “Magic Rush” of Batteries

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Robert Cringely, writing in EVWorld.com foresees a paradigm-shifting event that will happen sooner rather than later.  “A black swan is what we call an unexpected technical innovation that disrupts existing markets. Intrinsic to the whole black swan concept is that you can’t predict them: they come when they come.  Only today I think I’ll predict a black swan, thank you, and explain exactly how the automobile business is about to be disrupted. I think we’re about two years away from a total disruption of the automobile business by electric cars.” He quotes the respected auto journalist Robert Cumberford.  “’I see the acceptance of electric cars happening in a sudden rush. Maybe not this year, maybe not for a couple of …

EMG-5 Electric Motorglider

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

This isn’t Brian Carpenter’s first time at the small airplane rodeo.  He’s built at least a dozen aircraft, designed several from scratch, and even entertained the hosts of TV’s Mythbusters series with a series of rides in his team’s ultralights. His latest creation at Tangent Aircraft is a sleek Part 103 ultralight that seems to break or bend the rules on several fronts, presenting a twin-pivoting-motored, Fowler-flapped, retractable-gear craft that would seem to be too complex to fall into legal 103 status – or even into something the average novice private pilot would be allowed to fly.  The 36-foot span and 105-square-foot wing would seem too fast to meet stall limits. Carpenter explained his design philosophy to your editor a …

Battery Prices and Lithium Futures

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

EV World has a weekly email update to which your editor subscribes.  Because they provide a collection of articles and opinions from different sources, one often comes away questioning trends and even facts – or sometimes the meaning of it all. This week, an article referenced from Green Car Reports says that EV batteries may already have fallen to $250 per kilowatt hour.  This would be a godsend for sales of battery-powered cars, because sticker prices would drop sharply.   The article quotes Wolfgang Bernhart, a partner at Rolan Berger Strategy Consultants, that battery prices are already much lower than previous predictions would have indicated, possibly as low as $250 per kilowatt hour.  His analysis credited economies of scale for this …