What Has One Engine, Six Motors and Seven Propellers?

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

EcoPulse™, a collaboration by Airbus, Daher, and Safran is a fixed-wing distributed hybrid propulsion aircraft whose power system emulates many of the Urban Air Mobility vehicles that use an electric Vertical Take Off and Landing configuration.  Safran, notable for its gas turbines, will supply the propulsion system (excluding batteries).  The system consists of a turbogenerator (combined turbine and power generator), an electric power management system, and integrated electric thrusters (or e-Propellers) including electric motors and propellers faired neatly into the wings. EcoPulse partners claim the six small electric motors spread along the leading edge, while providing propulsion thrust, lead to a reduction of wing surface area – much of the wing gaining lift from the blown areas, lowered wingtip marginal …

Polyplus and SK Team on Glass-Encapsulated Batteries

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Polyplus, a Berkeley, California-based battery developer, has teamed with SK, Korea’s” first and largest energy and chemical company,“ to produce and test prototype cells to demonstrate increased volumetric and gravimetric energy density and cycle life relative to existing Li-ion cells.”  Just reported,  “The PolyPlus lithium-water battery has achieved the highest recorded energy density of 1,300 Watt-hours/kilogram, or an almost 10x improvement* over current lithium-ion batteries. Polyplus projects the energy density for commercial lithium-air batteries to be 1000 watt-hours per kilogram.”   As with many recent partnerships, the alliance between Polyplus and SK provides “muscle” for the smaller partner.  Polyplus, with 18 bay area employees, will benefit from the far more sizable SK’s financial and managerial expertise.  Between the two firms Polyplus’ 135 …

RMIT’s Proton Battery – Going with the Flow

Dean Sigler Batteries, Fuel Cells, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Fuel Cell, Flow Battery Professor John Andrews of RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, has announced a “proton battery” that combines features of fuel cells and flow batteries. The first rechargeable battery of its type, it is, as reported in Green Car Congress, “Environmentally friendly, and has the potential, with further development, to store more energy than currently-available lithium ion batteries.”   Interestingly, the battery uses no lithium, but relies on the building blocks of life, carbon and water, for its operation.  In their paper in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Andrews and his fellow researchers explain, “Essentially a proton battery is a reversible PEM [Proton Exchange Membrane, or Polymer Electrolyte Membrane] fuel cell with an integrated solid-state electrode for storing …

Ballard and Insitu Team on Fuel Cell-Driven Drone

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

Another pair of heavy-duty partners, Ballard Power Systems of Canada, normally powering city buses; and Boeing, through its subsidiary Insitu, team to create and fly viable fuel cell systems for drones.  Insitu’s ScanEagle is already a world-beater for range and endurance, but it uses an internal-combustion engine (ICE), that although frugal, is not entirely green. Green Car Congress reports, “ScanEagle is 1.55 meters (5.1 feet) in length, has a wingspan of 3.11 meters (10.2 feet) and [a] maximum takeoff weight of 22 kilograms (48.5 lbs). The UAV can fly at a maximum speed of 41.2 meters per second (80 knots), reach a ceiling of 5,944 meters (19,500 feet),”  and has flown over one million mission hours, making it a leader in …

Fisker’s Plans for Cars and Patents for Solid-State Batteries

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Is there a Fisker battery in the future of electric vehicles?  The latest proclamations from Henrik Fisker indicate he is ready to launch a lovely four-seat car for CES 2018, and that it will have LG Chem batteries capable of powering the vehicle for 400 miles.  Charging the batteries for nine minutes will add 125 miles range.  That’s definitely competitive, but Fisker promises more for a future EMotion supercar. Fisker claims that machine will have newly-patented solid-state batteries that charge in a minute, have 2.5 times the energy density of currently available lithium batteries, and will be far cheaper to manufacture than today’s cells.  That’s in 2023, five years out. Five Years Out “Five years out” has been the refrain …

Yi Cui and team Devise a 10X Anode

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

Batteries are complex things to design and make, with materials scientists and chemists facing unlimited numbers of options for materials choices, formulations and proportions, and manufacturing techniques that will make hoped-for performance attainable on a commercial level. Yi Cui and a distinguished array of undergraduate and graduate students at Stanford University have written 320 academic research papers since 2000, with the rate of publication seeming to increase every year. To put icing on that multi-layered cake, Dr. Cui has helped found his own battery company, Amprius, using his depth of knowledge to take batteries in directions interesting enough to draw the attention of well-known investors – including Stanford.  The only recent information on the web site today shows the firm …

Deformable Flexible and Conductive – A Great Solid Electrolyte

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

Reporting on a new material that doesn’t seem real, a joint research team from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) and Seoul National University in Korea says it has developed a “highly-conductive, highly deformable, and dry-air-stable glass electrolyte for solid-state lithium-ion batteries.  If those characteristics seem mutually exclusive, the electrical performance helps dispel skepticism. Assisted by colleagues at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and Brookhaven National Lab, the researchers prepared the electrolyte using a “homogenous methanol solution,” and wetting exposed surfaces of the electrode active materials with the solidified electrolyte. Eureka Alert! quotes Professor Yoon Seok Jung  (UNIST, School of Energy and Chemical Engineering) , “The research team also developed a material for the solid electrolyte by adding the iodized lithium …

Bosch Doubles Down on Solid-State Batteries

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

Bosch, the German electronics giant, is making a strong showing at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA), and showing off its solid-state Li-ion battery technology.  It recently acquired Seeo, Inc., an American startup that has been developing such a battery for several years, and will add Seeo’s research to its own expertise and exclusive patents. Encouragingly, the company says it will be able to double the energy density of Li-ion batteries while cutting prices by half.  Perhaps discouragingly, Bosch says this will take until 2020 to bring to production. Green Car Congress quotes Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management for Robert Bosch GmbH, claiming a breakthrough.  “Bosch is using its knowledge and considerable financial resources to achieve a …

Dr. Yi Cui’s Latest, a Solid-state Electrolyte

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Green Car Congress reports that, “Stanford researchers led by Professor Yi Cui have used ceramic nanowire fillers to enhance the ionic conductivity of polymer-based solid electrolyte by three orders of magnitude. The ceramic-nanowire filled composite polymer electrolyte also shows an enlarged electrochemical stability window.” With solid-state batteries coming to the fore through efforts by Ann Marie Sastry at Sakti 3 and Qichao Hu at Solid Energy Systems, an improved solid electrolyte would seem to offer greater battery safety and stability “when compared with conventional liquid electrolytes. The abstract for the Stanford researchers’ paper in the journal ACS Nano Letters explains that “Currently, the low mobility of lithium ions in solid electrolytes limits their practical application. The ongoing research over the past few …

Buy Silkworm Futures Now

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

We tend to think of batteries as being inanimate objects, even though they expand, contract and flex their electric muscles within their cylindrical or pouch forms as they charge and discharge.  This type of internal wiggling helps reduce and finally destroy the battery’s ability to make our remotes change channels or keep our airplanes flying. Researchers at the Beijing Institute of Technology have found a way to use the product of much internal and external wiggling, natural silk that is “biomass-derived” and processed to form carbon-based nanosheets that might be used in lithium-ion batteries and other energy storage devices. The American Chemical Society reports that Chuanbao Cao and his researchers worked with the idea that carbon is a key component …