Smart Fabrics Generate Energy Several Ways

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

We see a great deal about wearable energy-generating fabrics, garments that will help keep the wearer warm, or cool, or visible because of built-in piezo-electric generators in the makeup of the fabric.  Several researchers are taking this to the next level, creating new warps and woofs of materials that will create energy from a greater range of energy inputs. Elias Siores and the University of Bolton In 2011, Professor Elias Siores and associates at the University of Bolton in the UK created a flexible fiber that could harvest energy from movement and light.  Siores said it was flexible enough to be woven into “a sail, window curtain or tent and generate power”.  The material was recognized as a major innovation …

EAS VIII: Precision Autonomous Synchrophasing of Electric Propellers

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Krish Ahuja, Regents Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) helped attendees at the eighth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium understand an unusual set of problems by starting off with an explanation of acoustics for non-acousticians.  His credentials, impressive as they are, are more than matched by his ability to help those outside his specialty understand his discipline. According to his Georgia Tech web page, “Dr. Ahuja is a former associate editor of the AIAA Journal and also a former Chairman of the AIAA Aeroacoustics Technical Committee. Dr. Ahuja has authored or co-authored over 180 technical articles or reports on a range of topics including acoustic shielding, fan noise, active flow control, flow/acoustic interactions, jet noise, cavity noise, automobile …

EAS VIII – A Day and a Half You’ll Never Forget

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Who would pass up a chance to stay at a nice resort, attend lectures that challenge and inspire, and meet at poolside with speakers who bring some of the sharpest minds in the world to bear on some of the biggest problems we all face?  Let’s face it.  Global warming probably won’t be going away anytime soon, and aviation seems destined to play a bigger part in polluting our otherwise near-perfect atmosphere. Unless…we learn how to make our favorite activity (in the top five for most of us, anyway), into a more responsible way to travel and recreate.  Since solving the problems which go with that responsibility will involve the best in aerodynamics, power systems and new, efficient technology, the …

FAA Awards for Commuter Liners of the Future

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

In a series of far-reaching competitions for university students, the FAA has opened the gates on innovation for new aircraft and airport infrastructure design. Announcing the winners of its Design Competition for Universities, the FAA awarded three prizes in the Electric/Hybrid Electric Aircraft Competition.  In doing so, it acknowledged the pioneering work of the CAFE Foundation and NASA in promoting the original Green Flight Challenge, generously supported by sponsorship from Google. “Recently, the Green Flight Challenge and efforts of general aviation manufacturers and others have demonstrated flight using electric motors on general aviation aircraft. Under NASA’s Subsonic Fixed Wing Project, aircraft and engine manufacturers identified key technology capabilities required for electric and hybrid-electric propulsion of single aisle aircraft, expected by …

Giving Power Walking a Whole New Meaning

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have developed a self-charging power cell that uses a piezoelectric membrane to convert mechanical energy to chemical energy, then stores that energy until it can be released as en electrical current. Combining the power generator with the energy storage device, this hybrid is claimed to be more efficient than systems with separate generators and batteries.  When the piezoelectric membrane is flexed, it moves lithium ions in the power cell from one side of the cell to the other. Membranes in shoe heels and soles could produce power when a person walked, powering small electronic devices such as calculators or cell phones. Zhong Lin Wang, a Regents professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering Georgia …

Quiet Planes Make Good Neighbors

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

With this year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium just a few days away, the next few blog entries will close out reviews of presentations from EAS V. Krish J. Ahuja, Regents Professor at the School of Aerospace Engineering and the head of the Aerospace and Acoustics Technology Division at Georgia Institute of Technology, talked on “Quiet Propulsion for Small Electric Aircraft.” Dr. Ahuja came with great credentials, including his 1993 AIAA Aeroacoustics Award and being listed as one of top 50 Innovators by Aerospace magazine, 1995 and one of top 50 Technology leaders in the US by Industry Week Magazine. He started by examining the sources of aircraft noise.  Internal combustion engines (ICEs) are inherently noisy, but propellers add to that noise …

Better Batteries: Wrap It in Seaweed

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

MIT’s Technology Review reported last September that researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Clemson University had formulated a way to keep silicon anodes in lithium batteries from cracking under the strain of expending and contracting while they charge and discharge. They added a “binding agent and food additive derived from algae” that is in turn derived from seaweed. This enables the anode to charge and discharge at an eight times greater rate than an equivalent carbon anode without breaking down, a common problem for “raw” silicon. Environmentally friendly, the manufacturing processes for this type of anode are claimed to be clean and inexpensive. According to the Technology Review, “Lithium-ion batteries store energy by accumulating ions at the anode; …

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 …

The Poop on the Puffin

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 0 Comments

Under normal circumstances, this editor would never resort to scatological titles, but Mark Moore, the NASA aerospace engineer behind this fantastic flying creation calls his electric craft, “Puffin” because, according to Moore, the bird after which it is named, “Hides its poop, and we’re environmentally friendly because we essentially have no emissions.” Like the Puffin, this craft looks a bit chubby and incapable of flight on the ground, but folds its legs on liftoff, and becomes a streamlined bullet. Moore, who spoke at last year’s Third Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium, and will return for this year’s CAFE Foundation gathering at NASA Ames Research Center in April, unveiled this concept at this year’s American Helicopter Society meeting in San Francisco. Moore …