Two New and Unique Energy Storage Solutions

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

Lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries of various brands provide energy for Teslas, Leafs, and Bolts, but continue to disappoint by stalled energy density, power density, and safety concerns.  Two relative newcomers to the field might have answers to these concerns.  Unlike many other newcomers, production might be less than five years away. Enovix Corp. Ken Rentmeester, a good friend and retired chemical engineer, volunteers in the local TeenFlight program run by Dick VanGrunsven.  He shared his copy of the IEEE Spectrum containing an article about a new battery company that may have some answers to problems common to lithium batteries. The company’s claims for their Enovix battery are impressive.  “Patented 3D cell architecture, a patented 100% silicon anode, photolithography, and wafer …

George Bye is a Busy Electrical Entrepreneur

Dean Sigler Hybrid Aircraft, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

George Bye, with his namesake company, Bye Aerospace, is involved in projects ranging from solar-powered drones to 345 mph VTOL cross-country cruisers. Following the Money People are betting on the plausible success of George’s SunFlyer 2, built by subsidiary Aero Electric Aircraft Corp. (AEAC), and he’s received deposits on 105 of the two-seat training craft. Due for release in the next two years, one prototype nears test flights this year. As its capabilities are demonstrated, Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology might increase its initial reservation for 25 SunFlyers.  Think of the impact this will have on flight training schools when SunFlyers and Alpha Electros begin delivering new pilots. George did a great job of extolling the virtues of electric …

From DARPA Ugly to Svelte and Streamlined

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Seeing Google cars navigating our streets and highways, with their arrays of spinning sensors and antennas bristling from their roofs gives us the impression that the technology involved is complex and expensive.  Until recently, they were, with Wired reporting that early Google cars had multiple $80,000 LIDAR systems, and entrants in DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) challenges often sported over a quarter-million in esoteric devices that could, on occasion, spot the Holy Spirit in the vicinity.  (Your editor made that last part up.) Mike Ramsey, writing for the Wall Street Journal suggests those prices may be going down – way down.  “A Silicon Valley startup says it has solved several of the issues that might plague the introduction of …

Titan Aerospace and Its Low-Flying Satellites

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Ken Rentmeester, a regular reader of the blog, shared a news item from the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Spectrum.   Calling Titan Aerospace’s Solara unmanned aircraft “atmospheric satellites,” the article gives a brief history of solar-powered craft, including the Boucher brothers’ Sunrise I, the first solar-powered airplane in 1974, Paul MacCready Jr.’s first piloted solar-powered flight in 1980, and the current world’s endurance record for unmanned, solar-powered flight  by the QinetiQ Zephry in 2010. That airplane follows the look of the Boucher’s early effort, and Titan’s examples look a great deal like scaled-up versions of FAI F5-type models which rely on electric self-launching, rapid climbs and extreme flight capabilities to win contests. Despite great successes such as Zephyr’s, …

Unzipped Nanotubes Show Energetic Promise

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Rice University, supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), has demonstrated “a way to boost the efficiency of the ubiquitous lithium ion (LI) battery by employing ribbons of graphene that start as carbon nanotubes.” The AFOSR explains, “Four years ago, [Rice chemist James] Tour’s research team demonstrated that they could chemically unzip cylindrical shaped carbon nanotubes into soluble graphene nanoribbons (GNR) without compromising the electronic properties of the graphitic structure. A recent paper by the Tour team, published in IEEE Spectrum and partially funded by AFOSR, showed that GNR can significantly increase the storage capacity of lithium ion (Li-ion) by combining graphene nanoribbons with tin oxide. “By producing GNR in bulk, a necessary requirement for making this …