Making Hydrogen at Ambient Temperature with Biomass

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Hydrogen would be a nearly perfect fuel if it didn’t take more energy to extract it than you can get out of it.  Scientists have been working for years to isolate it in an economical fashion.  The most common element in the universe, hydrogen makes up 10 percent of the weight of living things here on earth – mainly in water, proteins and fats.  Its bonds in water make it pervasive, but still distant.  Obtaining it can be as simple as the video below. But the short bursts derived from this approach will exhaust the battery and not provide as much energy in return. Waste Not, Want Not Ironically, much of the earth’s other resources, more easily gained, are wasted …

A Hybrid Motorized Ultralight Sailplane

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Paul Robertson of the University of Cambridge has been sorting out the necessary components and relationships to make hybrid-electric-gasoline aircraft a practical reality for the last several years.  His Photonics and Sensors group at the University researches many areas of optics and electronics, including holography and “nano-photonic structures,” with hybrid flight last on the long list of studies.  The blog has been reporting on his aeronautical activities since 2009, including what turned out to be the second and third electric aircraft flights in England, and the first flight of an electric-gas hybrid in a modified Alatus motorglider. The current aircraft uses larger power components and is a bit more sophisticated.  In fact, an external view would not give away …

100 Percent Efficiency? Great! and So What?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A particularly brilliant and demanding manager for whom your editor used to work had a “SO WHAT?” stamp with which he would critique our technical papers and proposals.  His point in defacing our papers was not to be snide, but to force us to defend why we included certain facts – interesting though they may be in themselves. Two different and equally brilliant discoveries by University of Cambridge and University of California, Riverside researchers bring the “so what?” stamp to mind.  Even with their breakthroughs, approaching 100-percent efficient solar cells in the first instance, solar cells may not yet be a perfect fit for aircraft propulsion. Each square foot of the earth’s surface receives about 15 Watts of solar energy …