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. …

Cool Bike, Cooler Batteries

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A few years ago, Purdue University students Jim Danielson and Sean Kleinschmidt, helped launch the Purdue Electric Vehicles Club with physics major Tony “Danger” Coiro, who had created his own solar-powered motorcycle from a 1978 Suzuki he purchased for $50. Coiro drove around on his sun-mobile for less than one cent per mile. Just out of high school, Danielson and Kleinschmidt found another frugal ride, a 924 Porsche for a mere $500. The blown engine wasn’t a problem, since they replaced it with an electric forklift motor, controller and battery. The looks were great, although the poky top speed and lackadaisical acceleration strained against the image. Their initial success sent Kleinschmidt to a summer internship at Tesla where he worked …

The Sixth Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The CAFE Foundation will hold its sixth Electric Aircraft Symposium on April 27 and 28, 2012 at the Flamingo Resort in Santa Rosa, California and at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport, site of the Green Flight Challenge. Not only will there be a stellar lineup of speakers, but flying demonstrations of electric and hybrid aircraft, a first at any EAS. Jack Langelaan, team leader for the GFC-winning Electro Taurus G4 team, and Tine Tomazic from Pipistrel will share insights on the design and flight of the 403.5 epmpg aircraft.  David Calley, Chief Technical Officer for Motor Excellence, will describe ideal low-RPM motors for electric aircraft, and Mark Moore from NASA’s Langley Research Center will share breakthroughs in distributed …

Silicon Alloy Anode Yields 30-Percent More Capacity

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Just for notebook computers now, enough of these -as in the over 6,000 such cells that propel a Tesla, could have a profound short-term effect on our hopes for electric flight. The 18650 (18 mm in diameter, 65 mm long) cells by Panasonic are the first to offer a silicon alloy anode, a commercial verification of the research Drs. Cui and Cho have been performing. Panasonic promises 4.0 Amp hours capacity, almost 30-percent more than current lithium cells of the same size. This allows a notebook battery pack almost half the size of one using graphite anode cells. The good news is balanced by the fact that the Si-based cell, at 54 grams each, weighs 10 grams more than the …