Going Big and Bigger with Hydrogen

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

Two companies promoting hydrogen power for aircraft are upsizing their aspirations, with aircraft  hauling four to up to 40 passengers.  Both have ambitious timelines. ZeroAvia, operating in Hollister, California and Cirencester, England has been flying a Piper Malibu demonstrator, but anticipates flying a 10 to 20 passenger Dornier by 2024.  It would expand that to a 50-passenger craft by 2026.  H2Fly in Germany has been flying their Pipistrel-designed HY4 for several years and through six generations. The firm looks forward to taking incremental steps toward a 40-passenger regional airliner by 2030. ZeroAvia ZeroAvia reports on troubling trends in aviation’s contribution to greenhouse gases, but follows with a possible solution.  According to their web site, aviation accounts for over 12 percent …

Spark Solo Gets ZeroAvia Sponsorship

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Mike Friend, retired Technology Director for Boeing Aircraft, and Gabriel DeVault, head of drivetrain development for ZeroAvia, are putting a Zero motorcycle motor into Mike’s Spark Solo.  There are perhaps dozens of Zero motors flying today, and the 42-pound unit has evolved to powering even two-seat motorgliders like Gabriel’s Sonex Xenos. An Ambitious Project Mike came up with the Spark Solo design as a way to, “Encompass the design process” as well as the “piloting and fabricating” aspects of a project.  He wanted to, “Define an airplane uniquely designed around electric propulsion,” noting that, “Past efforts have almost always been adaptations of internal-combustion powered airplanes.”  To help forward his design, Mike has been working with his local EAA chapter, for …

RavenSR: Hydrogen from Waste

Dean Sigler Announcements, Biofuels, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Green hydrogen is getting a lot of press lately, at least partly because of the possibilities it allows in transportation design.  Raven SR, headquartered in Pinedale, Wyoming, has as its mission, “Providing revolutionary, clean technology to convert waste into renewable fuels and energy.” Clean Technica took notice of the company’s interesting location, deep in “an epicenter of the US coal,” the Powder River coal basin.  Their article notes some of the politics involved.  “The United Mine Workers of America, for one, came through with a statement in support of President Biden’s climate-friendly American Jobs Plan, contingent on its members getting a share of those new green jobs. “In the same statement, UMWA also lobbied for saving the remaining few remaining …

ZeroAvia’s Malibu in Off-Airport Incident

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We share this press release from ZeroAvia to allay any rumors or misinterpretations as to what happened May 1 on a test flight of ZeroAvia’s Piper Malibu.  The aircraft was damaged in an off-airport landing, but everyone on board managed to exit the craft safely and carried out safety protocols.  The incident will doubtless be thoroughly investigated by ZeroAvia’s team and by the United Kingdom’s own Civil Aviation Authority. ​ZeroAvia Off-Airport Landing Review 1 May, 2021, 08:00 BST On April 29th, 2021, ZeroAvia’s R&D aircraft made an off-airport landing just outside Cranfield airport perimeter during a routine pattern test flight (logged as ZeroAvia Test 86, and the 6th flight in this flight testing segment). The aircraft landed normally on its …

Two Wood Aircraft Leading to the Future

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

Two French manufacturers are reverting to bois et toile (wood and fabric) for ultra-modern aircraft.  Both of their aircraft will be electrically powered, and both will use non-traditional approaches to construction.  In the meantime, both have fairly traditional demonstration models. The French have done wonders with wooden aircraft from the very beginning of aviation.  Santos Dumont built the petite Demoiselle with bamboo longerons, for instance, and Henri Mignet crafted his diminutive Pou du Ciel (flea of the sky, or flying flea) from available wood.  After World War Two, Messrs Joly and Delemontez fashioned a small single-seater, the Jodel D-9, from wood and ply and powered it with converted VW Kubelwagen engines, Jeep-like German vehicles which littered scrap yards and former …

Electrifly-in: Grenchen 2021

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

Electrifly-in, formerly the Smartflyer Challenge, is on for September 11 and 12, 2021, in Grenchen, Switzerland.  The event, even held in 2020 despite the pandemic, is a compact showing of the latest in electrical aircraft and technology.  Watch as this 2019 video as a Φnix (the Greek letter phi + nix –a clever bilingual pun) takes off, circuits the area and makes a landing – all the time flying with other electric aircraft. In this flight, you can see the compact airport (including a grass landing strip) and a lovely setting for a great event.  Started as the Smartflyer Challenge* in 2016, the gathering has changed its name to be more inclusive. Last year, even with travel limitations imposed worldwide, …

Hypoint’s Radical Radial Fuel Cell Solution

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

Hypoint proclaims, “We make zero emission air transport possible.”  They do this by, “Building a next generation hydrogen fuel cell system that can deliver “Both high specific power: “2,000 Watts/kilogram and high energy density “1,500 Watt-hours/kilogram Exactly what aircraft designers are looking for.” These numbers exceed what the best batteries can manage at this time, and according to the company’s white paper, even better performance is on the way. Batteries vs. Fuel Cells Hypoint proclaims, “The age of zero-emission aviation is currently being prevented by the industry’s reliance on Li-ion batteries, which have a fundamental barrier at the chemistry level.”  The firm limits cell performance to 200 Whr/kg, although Bye Aerospace claims 260 Whr/kg for their full battery packs, battery …

Two Hydrogen-Powered Aerial Vehicles

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

Two very different hydrogen-powered aerial vehicles have come to our attention, each with a different mission, but both with endurance and range as primary functions.  Both use a fairly straightforward fuel cell/motor arrangement to power their flights. Vicor/DMI Fuel Cell Drones Doosan Mobility Innovation (DMI) is a major drone manufacturer, and their largest products push against the FAA’s 55-pound (24.97-kilogram) weight limit.  Their DM30, powered with a DS30 fuel cell and a 10.8 liter H2 tank weighs 21 kilograms and can carry a five kilogram (11 pound) payload.  Carrying a full payload may require using the smaller seven-liter tank. Alessandro Mascellino, writing in EE Power, describes recent combination of resources that makes long-range drone deliveries possible.  “The first machines built …

Two Ways to Haul 19 on H2

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

Pipistel and Delft Technical University have introduced hydrogen (H2) powered, 19-seat airliners for the intermediate-range market.  Both are unique configurations with unique propulsion concepts.  Both attempt to lower drag through the use of their propulsive systems. Pipistrel Miniliner Pipistrel announced their Miniliner concept as a response to a “significant market potential” for a “zero-emission airplane in the 20-seat size class, capable of operating quietly from runways shorter than 1 [kilometer], including grass airstrips at small aerodromes.”  Seen as a disruptive element in providing service to currently unserved areas within a 200 to 1,000 kilometer (124 to 620 mile) range, the Miniliner could also serve as a microfeeder craft between small airports and large hubs. Although Pipistrel is somewhat mum about …

Hydrogen as a Goop? Fraunhofer’s Powerpaste

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

Not Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop What if a different approach to storing hydrogen as a fuel gave benefits that are easily disbelieved?  Would this new fuel find approval and widespread adoption?  Ask the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM) in Dresden, Germany.  The Institute has come up with something called Powerpaste, claimed to be, “A safe way of storing hydrogen in a chemical form that is easy to transport and replenish without the need for an expensive network of filling stations.” (Fraunhofer describes the paste as a “goop,” not to be confused with the very different fluids marketed by Gwyneth Paltrow under the “Goop” trade name.) We’ve seen hydrogen flying for several decades, with Michael Friend leading a …