Solid State Lithium Sulfur and Lithium Selenium Batteries

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

In battery making, recipes for electrolytes play an important part of the whole.  In a new formula whipped up by Zhengzhou University, Tsinghua University and Stanford University, Lithium (Li), Lanthanum (La), Zirconium (Zr), Tantalum (Ta), and Oxygen (O) form a ceramic tube as the battery’s electrolyte.  This tube is centered in new solid state Lithium Sulfur and Lithium Selenium batteries. Researchers filled that tube with a liquid lithium electrode, and immersed the tube in a bath of carbon black and liquid selenium or sulfur in a stainless steel container. The team’s paper, “High Energy-Density Solid Electrolyte-Based Liquid Li-S and Li-Se Batteries,” published in the October 15 edition of Joule, explains the new batteries should be capable of delivering energy densities …

Cuberg Battery Flies 70 Percent Longer

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

Cuberg’s recent test between their battery and a conventional lithium-ion battery resulted in the Cuberg battery keeping a drone flying 70-percent longer.  Given that the test is for two packs of equal weight, the result is an impressive one.  Cuberg’s co-founder and CEO has prepared for this success since his undergraduate days as a SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) Fellow, putting his summer vacations to good use.  He used the knowledge and experience he gained in three summer fellowships to help lead a dozen students “to design and develop innovative and efficient mechanical systems (including HVAC, hot water, insulation, appliances, and more) for the Solar Decathlon net-zero house competition.”  The team won first place in the hot water contest and second …

Amprius’ Silicon Nanowire Batteries Fly – For 25 Days

Dean Sigler Batteries, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Sunnyvale, California-based Amprius kept a low profile for several years, despite its founder, Yi Cui, being a leading light in battery development.  Their December 4th press release, though, finds the company to be in a more open mood, their advanced lithium-ion cells with 100-percent silicon anodes having flown Airbus’ Zephyr High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS) for over 25 days, “setting a new endurance and altitude record for stratospheric flight.” This milestone represents a great leap forward since Alan Cocconi flew his So Long solar-powered model for 48 hours, the first of many projects of which he would be an integral part, and the first solar airplane to fly overnight.  He worked on the General Motors EV1 and Eric Raymond’s Sunseeker …

Flow Batteries Aging Well

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

As previously noted in the blog, the Tissandier Brothers flew their Siemens-powered electric airship in 1883 using a flow battery of their own design for energy storage.  This technology gets a lot of attention for grid-based energy storage, but might have use in more mobile applications.  Nano Flow Cell Technologies in Switzerland, for instance, used different salt waters to power their Quant and Quantino automobiles. Howard Handelman, a regular reader of the blog, shared the following two researches into modernizing flow cells.  Stanford and Harvard researchers both cooked up different ingredients than one would normally find in a flow battery.  Both groups achieved better than average performance and longevity. Stanford’s Liquid Metal Approach Stanford’s battery uses liquid metal that more …

Zee?  Kitty Hawk? Cora?

Dean Sigler Announcements, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Different Names, Different Configurations Zee, One of two aircraft companies funded by Google founder and CEO Larry Page, has been a highly mysterious business.  Its web pages mostly gave discrete job descriptions for those willing to sign up for a mostly undefined mission.  Occasional glimpses of patent drawings, spy shots of a multi-rotor craft in Google’s Mountain View, California parking lot came into view, and later, in-flight shots of other, different looking craft came from Hollister, California. Kitty Hawk, the other company funded by Larry Page, seems to have subsumed Zee and produced a 12-rotor, single-propeller aerial taxi about the size of a Cessna 150, but capable of vertical takeoffs and landings and seamless transitions to forward flight.  A white …

Recharging Technique Makes Zinc-Air Batteries a Viable Alternative

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries face several problems: they are not making great leaps forward that we hope for, they occasionally burst into flame, and they weigh too much to be all that practical in a pure-electric airplane.  Researchers peer over the alternatives, magnesium, manganese, aluminum, and now, after several false starts in recent years, zinc. University of Sydney scientists claim to have found a three-stage method of charging zinc-air cells that promises greater energy density and longevity.  One selling point – the relative abundance and low cost of zinc, such cells are cheaper to produce than lithium equivalents.  They theoretically can store up to five times more energy than lithium-ion cells, are less prone to burst into flame, and are …

Not a Goldschmied Fuselage, but Still Wonderfully Low Drag

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

Following your editor’s blog entry on the Prandtl wing and erroneously named Goldschmied fuselage, he received this correction from Dr. Brien Seeley, President of the Sustainable Aviation Foundation and one of the creators of the body in question. “However, it is, I think, important to note:  We did not fabricate a Goldschmied body and it is incorrect to refer to ours as one. Ours is original, unique and it does not at all rely upon Goldschmied’s annual suction approach (aft boundary layer treatment). A Goldschmied body studied at Cal Poly is shown along with a link to its 205 page study.  It differs by having a pointed nose and sharp convergence at the rear annular inlet to create the concave …

Making Silicon Anodes in Large Batches

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

A Long-term Collaboration Dr. Jaephil Cho is a well-known battery researcher and inter-continental associate of Dr. Yi Cui of Stanford University.  The pair has collaborated on many ways to improve battery performance and longevity, and both have appeared at various electric aircraft symposia.  They have even inspired others in related research. Dr. Cho and his team at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea announced a way to make a new generation battery anode material – a big move toward mass production of improved cells. Dr. Cho’s team of researchers affiliated with Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), South Korea, claims to have made yet another step towards finding a solution to accelerate the commercialization …

Even with Batteries, Paul MacCready Was Right

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Dr. Paul MacCready repeatedly urged us to do more with less, getting big results from modest use of materials.  That philosophy may be upheld yet once again by researchers from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) Institute of Soft Matter and Functional Materials. As reported here many times, people like Dr. Yi Cui at Stanford University, researchers at MIT, the Fraunhoffer Institute in Germany and many others are attempting to find the magic combination of ingredients that will allow us to transcend the weight penalty we currently trade for payload in heavier-than-desired electric aircraft. Scientists at the HZB, led by  by Prof. Matthias Ballauff have directly observed for the first time a lithium-silicon half-cell during its charging and discharge cycles.  Dr. Beatrix-Kamelia …

Battery 500 Consortium – A Budget Program with Potentially Big Payback

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

The federal government is creating yet another round of incentives to “spark” development of “significantly smaller, lighter and less expensive batteries.” A consortium of researchers led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will receive up to $10 million a year over five years to perk up battery performance, with the goal of creating a 500 Watt-hour per kilogram battery pack, about three times that of currently available commercial offerings.  The new batteries should be “reliable, safe and less expensive,” according to consortium director and PNNL materials scientist Jun Liu.  Research will come from partners nation-wide, including: Brookhaven National Laboratory Idaho National Laboratory SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Binghamton University (State University of New York) Stanford University University of California, San Diego …