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 …

Airbus Goes Modular with Hydrogen Pods

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Airbus announced its Zero E program in late September, showing three possible candidates for hybrid hydrogen power.  Zero E, for zero emissions, is a tall order even for one of the world’s two largest aircraft companies.  Now, the company makes yet another announcement – for a novel modular “pod” configuration – “a stand-alone propeller propulsion system powered by hydrogen fuel cells. It consists of the following elements:” A propeller Electric motors Fuel cells Power electronics LH2 tank A cooling system A set of auxiliary equipment Instead of housing the hydrogen fuel in the fuselage, Airbus creates a more spacious cabin by moving fuel storage to each pod.  Each pod would be identical and modular.  Components could be removed and replaced …

ZeroAvia Gains Backing at High Levels

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

“Cannot be more proud and humbled to be a part of this stellar team!”  That’s power system developer Gabriel DeVault’s response to ZeroAvia’s Chief Financial Officer Katya Akulinicheva’s enthusiastic endorsement of Bloomberg LP’s news.  She listed the investors taking an active interest in ZeroAvia, including Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, Horizons Ventures, Shell Ventures and Summa Equity. Already benefiting from a $16.3 million grant from Innovate UK, Aerospace Technology Institute and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), ZeroAvia will be able to push forward on plans to create a 19-seat hydrogen-powered commuter liner. According to Bloomberg, “ZeroAvia aims to demonstrate that it can fly a plane 500 miles (804 kilometers) with as …

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 …

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 …

DLR’s Novel Configurations

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) conducting research into the potential of new types of design have crafted novel configurations for future flight.  The DRL and BDLI (German Aerospace Industries Association or Bundesverband der Deutschen Luft- und Raumfahrtindustrie)  have published a white paper: “Zero Emission Aviation – Emissionsfreies Fliegen” explicating these configurations. Surprisingly, one of their major findings is that “Electric flight enables lighter aircraft with smaller wings and distributed propulsion systems.”  Battery weight has caused MagniX and Ampaire to reduce the number of passengers or the cargo loads on conversions of existing airframes.  To counter those issues, “An EU research project is investigating the potential for new propulsion systems and aircraft concepts.”  …

DLR’s Future Visions

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

One Size Does Not Fit All DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt or German Aerospace Center) and the German Aerospace Industries Association (Bundesverband der Deutschen Luft- und Raumfahrtindustrie; BDLI) present future visions of electric aircraft.  These range from a four-seat hydrogen-powered repurposed Pipistrel that nine years ago won the NASA Green Flight Challenge to large, multiple propeller, medium-range airliners. Their White Paper, “Zero Emission Aviation – Emissionsfreies Fliegen” (unfortunately available only in German) promotes the promise of “energy transition in air transport, with the goal of zero emissions,” and claims this is “possible by mid-century but requires a considerable increase in innovation.” Rolf Henke, the member of the DLR Executive Board responsible for aeronautics research and technology, explains, “The …

NAWA’s Straight Line Electrode to More Power

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

Most battery breakthroughs are five years in the future, following the basic rules of scientific journals and Popular Science magazine.  The usual refrains are, “Further research is required,” and “Researchers expect commercial development within the next decade.”  Rather than wait for the future, NAWA Technologies claims the world’s fastest electrode today and production now. NAWA’a brochure explains their Vertically Aligned Carbon NanoTube (VACNT) architecture is “key to its next-generation energy storage.”   Think of a forest of carbon nanotubes through which current can flow.  In the jumble of usual battery materials, an ion would have to clamber over boulder-like obstructions and possibly get hung up in the random intersections of conductive material.  The VACNT architecture allows ionic flow as though they …

A Dash of Hydrogen

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Getting the Parts Free, Charged for Refills What if future flight had a simple “return the old fuel container and get a new one” business model?  Paul Eremenko, founder of California startup Universal Hydrogen, wants to try it out in a Dash 8 airliner equipped with two 2-megawatt motors supplied by MagniX. Poor analogy perhaps, but in his boyhood, your editor had a camera that was sold at the store complete with a roll of film already inside.  All you had to do when you took all your pictures was send it by mail, with a check or money order, and a week later, you got the reloaded camera back with the prints and negatives of your pictures.  This klunky, …

ZeroAvia First Out of the Gate with Hydrogen Flight

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

An Historic Hydrogen Outing While Airbus and MagniX promote the near- and not-so-near virtues of hydrogen-powered flight, ZeroAvia has demonstrated such flight with the largest H2-powered aircraft so far.  Their Cranfield, England-based Piper Malibu flew on H2 power for the first time September 24 on an eight-minute circuit.  The blue Malibu reached 1,000 feet and a top speed of 100 knots true air speed. Quick to capitalize on the successful mission, , ZeroAvia founder and CEO Val Miftakhov held a press conference the next day.  In it, he explained his team,“has had discussions with seven aircraft manufacturers about possible retrofit and new-build applications for the propulsion system. He said the company has signed letters of intent with 10 airlines that …