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 …

Michael Friend’s Spark Solo

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

“The Quest for a Truly Practical Electric Touring Motor-Glider” Mike Friend is not your typical retired aircraft executive.  As Technical Director for Boeing, he oversaw “the first manned fixed wing aircraft powered by a hydrogen fuel cell/lithium ion battery powerplant that first flew back in 2008.”  He’s been associated with green energy projects since then, including work on the Boeing-supported Zunum project, a set of 10- to 50-passenger electric hybrid airliners.  On the personal front, he hopes to design and build the Spark Solo, a single-seat electric motorglider that will enable cross-country flights from his home base of Bremerton (Washington) Regional Airport. Working with Gabriel DeVault Motorgliders make a good combination with battery power.  Their clean lines enable using low …

Total Operating Costs – Batteries Included

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

Gilles Rosenberger, co-founder of Faraday Aerospace with Michael Friend, former Technology Director for Boeing, commented on a recent entry on H55’s Energic two-seat trainer.  He expanded on the idea of total operating costs for electric aircraft, including the battery replacement. He congratulated the H55 team and added a point about which your editor will attempt greater diligence.  “But why keeping talking about operating cost and not total cost of ownership?  No pilot, no student is going to pay only few dollars per hours based on the energy cost.  Who do you believe is going to pay for other cost including the battery amortization?” Practicing the best public relations and salesmanship gambits, most aircraft sales operations don’t mention the eventual cost …

Diamond’s Hybrid-Electric Tiltrotor

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

Diamond Aircraft of Austria gave Flying magazine news of its hybrid-electric tiltrotor project – something not announced on Diamond’s own web site.  According to Flying, Diamond will partner with an unnamed “major industrial partner.”  The airplane could become certified within seven years, enabling customers to own a six-passenger vertical takeoff and landing vehicle with ostensibly high speed and the ability to set down virtually anywhere. Diamond founder and CEO Christian Dries says the craft will be powered by two high-output Siemens electric motors with power to recharge the batteries in flight supplied by a pair of Austro diesel engines.  Since there are four propellers, the motors’ outputs would probably be split fore and aft to a pair of rotors. The …

First Polish Electric Motorglider

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Michael Friend, Boeing Technology Director, met Maciej Kalwara a faculty member in mechanical engineering and aerodynamics from Rzeszow University, Poland at the 2012 ILA Berlin,  or Berlin Air Show.  Maciej showed him the AOS-71 electric motorglider – a first in Poland.  The airplane made its initial test flights just weeks ago, perfectly according to the test pilot. A joint project between Rzeszow and Warsaw Universities of Technology and a derivation of the PW-6 tandem sailplane, the AOS-71 has a Sineton A30K016, 30 kilowatt (continuous power) motor. As shown in the video and pictures from Maciej, the flight looked smooth, lasted 20 minutes and achieved an altitude of 250 meters (820 feet).  The airplane landed with 30 percent of its battery’s …

Hydrogen Scooters – A Possible Power Source?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Amateur aircraft builders, like Francis Marlier of the ULM Club in Alsace, France who recently converted his Exelec to a Sunexelec with the addition of solar cells, are always looking for reasonable options for powering their airplanes. Perhaps they could turn to fuel cells as a range extender. Several motor scooter makers are bringing out fuel-cell powered models that show some promise despite limited performance and high prices so far. Intelligent Energy, an English company, demonstrated a fuel cell scooter in 2005, and a number of aircraft developers, including Boeing, have crafted fuel-cell-powered vehicles. Intelligent Energy’s ENV was reportedly the world’s first purpose-built fuel cell motorbike, and Top Gear’s James May enjoyed the quiet ride, if only moderately endorsing the …

Another Cure for Range Anxiety

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Or at least an approach to provide angst-free cross-country flying, as Michael Friend explained in his Electric Aircraft Symposium presentation last April at Rohnert Park, California.  Friend, a Boeing engineer closely tied to the company’s early fuel cell work, is the owner and pilot of N787M, one of the earliest production kit Silence Twisters.  The Twister is a Spitfire-like, retractable-gear light aircraft capable of cruising 146 on its Jabiru 80-horsepower engine.  It’s capable of full aerobatic flight, and was converted to electric power in Germany for possible airshow demonstrations.  The Twister’s designers also plan a lengthened wing that would make motor gliding possible. Friend noted the difference in energy density between available batteries and gasoline, explaining that 10 kilograms of …

CAFE Makes the Top of Kitplanes’ Cover

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

 While at the local magazine store, or the proverbial fine book store, you’ll be able to spot Kitplanes’ August 2010 issue easily.  The yellow letters on the cover line above the magazine title pop with upper-case intensity: “FUTURE SHOCK: CAFE’S Electric Aircraft Symposium.” Not only does the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium get pride of place on the magazine’s cover and in four pages inside, but Marc Cook, editor-in-chief for the publication, titles his “Around the Patch” editorial “Making Electric Aircraft Exciting,” and proceeds to share his surprised discovery of respect for the new Toyota Prius, and to praise the husband-wife team of Bill Dube’ and Eva Hakansson, battery builder and racer, respectively, of Killacycle, the 0-60 in one second electric …