Drones Meeting the Corona Virus Challenge

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

“Ramadan Mubarak, Dean! “As a kid who grew up in the ’80s, I thought by 2020 we’d have flying cars and a clean planet, and yet here we are grappling with a global pandemic and much uncertainty in these very strange times.” This greeting from Hani Almadhoun, Director of Philanthropy for  the the United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. UNRWA USA, reminds us of our common humanity and spirituality while lamenting the fact that we don’t yet have those long-promised flying cars or at least a well-looked-after planet. Like the virus, the unfulfilled dream of a “flying car” seems universal. Faced with an imperfect reality, fixed- and rotary-wing drones are showing their worth in fighting the …

Pragma Triples Kilometers on Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Bikes

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

Six years ago, we ran a story on hydrogen fuel-cell powered bikes that could travel limited distances, and used canisters of fresh hydrogen to quickly replenish the bike’s energy.   Pragma Industries has introduced a much-improved version of that bike, with range up to 150 kilometers (93 miles).  A pedelec (the motor kicks in when the cyclist pedals), the bike has a unique look and a compact propulsion system.   The system consists of a Brose 36 Volt motor, a 150 Watt PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) fuel cell, and 150 Watt-hours of lithium-ion batteries in the bike’s down tube.  Pragma has a large amount of material on its technologies, including a helpful explanation of fuel cells and their operation, and a …

N Is For Noise, D is for Deliveries*

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

A July, 2017 article in New Scientist reported that a small test group found “the noise of drones more annoying than that of ground vehicles.”  This has implications for enterprises such as Amazon and Google that hope to perform home deliveries of various goods, including food.  Almost as a refrain, the Wall Street Journal reported in December, 2018 that, “Wing – the  drone delivery company that spun out from Google — was annoying residents in the Australian town where it tests its services.”  Folks in Bonython, the down-under township where the company had set up shop, “Likened the sounds of the original delivery drones to a “chain saw gone ballistic.”  This caused some to spend less time outdoors, and dogs evidenced signs …