MAHEPA and HY4 Go High

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

MAHEPA (Modular Aproach to Hybrid-Electric Propulsion Architecture) is a European Union project to build emission-free aircraft.  A public flight of Pipistrel’s HY4 hydrogen-powered, four-seat aircraft was the latest demonstration of the group’s progress. Challenging Objectives Overall, MAHEPA hopes to accomplish five objectives: Advancing the fuel-driven serial hybrid-electric Powertrain which uses a lightweight internal combustion engine (ICE), capable of running multiple fuels as the power generation module. Advancing the reliability of zero-emission serial hybrid-electric powertrain which uses a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Hydrogen Fuel Cell (FC) as the power generation module. Advancing new airborne qualified, lightweight, high-power density components such as a 200 kW+ electric motor, a 100 kW+ generator and improved power electronics using Silicon Carbide (SiC) technology to increase …

Something to Lighten the Post-Holiday Letdown

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Even following Boxing Day, we have a few items to re-gift to our faithful readers, and close out the season with four very light examples of electric aviation. A-I-R ATOS Felix Ruhle has been improving and refining a basic wing design for over a decade, growing a line of aircraft that range from simple hang-gliders to fairly sleek, self-launching, electrically-powered ultralight sailplanes.  The A-I-R factory/showroom in Halblech, Germany, one of 18 dealerships around the world, fronts a lush green meadow and houses a plethora of ATOS wings. The ATOS wing, coming in a range of sizes, can be attached to seemingly anything from a simple jump-off-the-nearest cliff hang-gliding rig to refined, electrically-powered ultralight sailplanes. Under development for the last few …

Sunseeker Duo Plays Among the Alps

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Eric and Irena Raymond took a lovely Sunseeker Duo flight over the Italian alps near their home in Voghera and edited it all into a video.  They designed and built their own solar-powered airplane – Eric’s third.  He flew Sunseeker 1 across the US in 1990 in 21 hops.  A big press conference scheduled for his last landing at Kitty Hawk, NC was a big disappointment since the US invaded Kuwait that day. Six Minutes of Great Beauty Their airplane has solar cells arrayed across the wing and horizontal tail, a small battery pack that gets recharged while flying in the sun, and a 22 kilowatt (30 hp) motor on the tail.  Turning off the motor they can soar on …

Joby “Unicorn” Gains Private, Military Backing

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

NOTICE: We are publishing this entry despite not being able to download fixed images into the file.  We will have that repaired soon, but want the news to go out in the meantime.  Practice patience in the meantime.  Thank you.  Joby Aviation is one of few “unicorns” in the electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) market, a billion-dollar enterprise.  With funding coming from Toyota, several venture capital investors, Uber and the U. S. Army, Joby seems poised to demonstrate Urban Air Mobility (UAM) in a serious way. In 2011 JoeBen Bevirt, founder of Joby Energy, Joby Aviation, and creator of those knobby-looking tripods you see everywhere, invited Patrick McLaughlin to visit his design studio.  Your editor got to tag …

Quantumscape Batteries – an Emerging Answer

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Hiding in plain site next to the San Jose, California International Airport, Quantumscape has been quietly developing a solid-state battery now emerging and trending toward mass production.  With backing from Volkswagen, Bill Gates and a founding member of Tesla, the battery company would make big splash if it used a liquid electrolyte.  It doesn’t.  Wired goes a bit dramatic in describing the faults of batteries with liquid electrolytes.  “IF ELECTRIC VEHICLES are ever going to fully supplant gas guzzlers on the world’s roads, they’re going to need an entirely new type of battery. Despite steady improvements over the past decade in the energy density and lifetimes of lithium-ion batteries, the cells in new EVs still lag behind internal combustion engines …

A 5-10X Battery from Silver Oxide and Zinc

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University of California at San Diego researchers headlined a report with fairly astonishing news:“A flexible screen-printed rechargeable battery with up to 10 times more power than state of the art.”  Combining their science with the manufacturing expertise of a hearing-aid battery maker, they have come up with a silver oxide and zinc battery that can be screen printed in normal lab conditions.  Normally, such production requires a sterile environment under vacuum. So far, the battery technology seems to be limited to hearing air-sized coin cells, or in the case of UC San Diego’s work, printable displays on wearables.  On smaller scales, such batteries could be used to power Internet of Things (IOT) sensors and transmitters, alerting folks when an oven …

Is There a Graphene Battery in Our (Near) Future?

Dean Sigler Batteries, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Graphene is fascinating stuff, with tons of promise.  Whether it can produce usable results for energy storage is still an open question. But Samsung and a startup called Real Graphene may have at least a start in that realm.  GAC, a Chinese auto firm, seems to be promising batteries before the end of what is left of this year.  There may be hope in the midst of a dark winter. Samsung’s Lagging Promise In 2017 a team of researchers at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) developed a “graphene ball,” promising  a 45-percent increase in capacity, and five times faster charging speeds than standard lithium-ion batteries. Hoping to power mobile devices and electric vehicles, SAIT collaborated closely with Samsung …

Russian Efly 1A Begins Flight Tests

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Designing and building an airplane is a major undertaking, often taking a decade or more to complete.  Aleksey Sychev has completed two airplanes and at least two motors out of three planned.  Think about that – our Russian friend has built his own airplanes, motors, controllers, and battery packs.  The Russian engineer and teacher has even successfully flown his Efly 1A motor glider. Aleksey recounts the day on his Facebook page.  “We tested the Efly-1a motor glider. The declared characteristics were confirmed: 9 take-offs were performed on one battery charge, then 3 flights over the strip. Operating time on a single charge is 5 minutes (3 takeoff and 3 cruise modes are included). This is in numbers. There were unreal …

Tecnam Goes Electric in Parallel and with Batteries

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Tecnam, an Italian aircraft producer noteworthy for supplying the base aircraft for NASA’s X-57 Maxwell distributed electric test vehicle, has two of its own electric craft under development.  One will be a parallel-hybrid single-engine/motor four-seater with perhaps the smallest motor Rolls-Royce can supply.  The other will employ a battery-only system to power an 11-seat commuter aircraft. Tecnam’s history, starting in 1948, includes the design and manufacture of over 33 types of aircraft, with deliveries of over 5,500 airframes in more than 65 countries. Parallel Power Introduced in 2018, the H3PS (“High Power High Scalability Aircraft Hybrid Powertrain”) project was a collaboration among Tecnam, BRP-Rotax and (at the time) Siemens, which supplied the electric motor.  Siemens’ electric aircraft division has since …

Beam Me Up: Flying on Sunshine™

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

We recently reported on two electrically-powered cross-country flights for which the big issue was lack of battery-charging facilities at airports along the way.  Both “teams” had their chargers carried by an accompanying airplane or automobile.  Now, with a public demonstration a Beam Global charger at Reedley Municipal Airport in Fresno County, California, we see a no-fuss way to bring EV charging to aviation – even in remote locations. Beam Global premises its installations on a foursome of negatives: No permitting, no construction, no electrical work, and no utility bill.  Installation, if one believes Beam’s video, is almost a non-event. Beam, formerly Envision Solar, produces pre-fabricated EV ARC solar-powered charging stations.  Like a vacation camper, the ARCs can be towed right …