Quantumscape Batteries – an Emerging Answer

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Hiding in plain site next to the San Jose, California International Airport, Quantumscape has been quietly developing a solid-state battery now emerging and trending toward mass production.  With backing from Volkswagen, Bill Gates and a founding member of Tesla, the battery company would make big splash if it used a liquid electrolyte.  It doesn’t.  Wired goes a bit dramatic in describing the faults of batteries with liquid electrolytes.  “IF ELECTRIC VEHICLES are ever going to fully supplant gas guzzlers on the world’s roads, they’re going to need an entirely new type of battery. Despite steady improvements over the past decade in the energy density and lifetimes of lithium-ion batteries, the cells in new EVs still lag behind internal combustion engines …

Oxis Batteries to Fly in Two Airplanes

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

While we wait yet another five years for commercial development of each newly announced but promising battery chemistry, one company has its cells ready to fly in Bye Aerospace’s eFlyer 2 and in Texas Aircraft’s Colt S-LSA.  Oxis Energy has managed to leapfrog lithium-ion makers with its lithium-sulfur battery packs packing 400 Watt-hours per kilogram.  Considering the best announced pack-level li-ion performance has been 260 W-hr/kg, the leap is significant. Batteries, for now, are at the heart of electric aircraft.  Until Doc Brown’s Flux Capacitor or a hydrogen fuel cell with Dollar Tree refills comes along, batteries are battling it out for our airborne dollars.  Lithium-ion remains in the forefront, with Tesla staging its shareholders’ meeting and its long-anticipated “Battery …

Supercaps for Supercars – and Sky Taxis?

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

Your editor has asked for years if batteries in electrically-powered aircraft could be augmented by supercapacitors, devices able to unleash significant amounts of power quickly.  The usual answer is that the added weight of supercaps that could add power on demand would be about that of added batteries to equal the performance. We wrote about the use of super capacitors in KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) used in Formula racers and even at LeMans.  At around the same time, Mazda tucked supercaps under the front wheel well on some models to capture waste energy from braking.  That energy could then power electric systems in the car and even recharge the main battery.  In an explanation and comparison of lithium batteries …

Breakthrough Batteries Two Years Away?

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Breakthrough Batteries: Powering the Era of Clean Electrification A paper by Charlie Bloch, James Newcomb, Samhita Shiledar, and Madeline Tyson of the Rocky Mountain Institute describing the near future of battery development predicts and accelerated pace of “the global energy transition” and the growing role of energy storage in “addressing the climate crisis.”  Will these “breakthough batteries” power us into the near future? Their report* notes the economic investment and potential impacts of ongoing research, which to this editor seems minor when compared to the gravity of the ongoing climate crisis.  Researchers estimate “more than $1.4 billion invested in battery technologies in the first half of 2019 alone,” less than 10 percent of the $16 billion spent in 2016 on …

ZeroAvia Counts on Hydrogen

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

Tucked away in the quiet little airport at Hollister, California, ZeroAvia has stealthily been developing a hydrogen-powered Piper Malibu, and flying it for the last six months.  It sounds like a regular aircraft taking off and passing overhead, even with its two 130 kilowatt (174.26 horsepower) electric motors. ZeroAvia claims 275 kW (369 hp) for the pair.  From the videos, propeller noise seems to be much the same as a conventional, internal-combustion powered Malibu, but lacks the added noise of the engine.  Piper M-series aircraft are normally powered by a Teledyne Continental Motors TSIO-520BE engine rated at 310 hp (230 kW). Valery Miftakhov, ZeroAvia’s founder and CEO announced, “Right now we have an aircraft that’s six seats and 2 tons …

Venture Capitalists Jump on JoeBen’s Bandwagon

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

People waste billions of hours sitting on roads worldwide each year. We envision a future where commuting by eVTOL (electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing) is a safer, faster, and cost-competitive alternative to ground transportation. We have spent the last ten years developing the technologies that have made our full-scale technical demonstrator possible and are now ready to build a commercial version of the aircraft. We’re excited to have attracted the backing of leaders in auto manufacturing, data intelligence, and transportation sectors. —Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt (Green Car Congress) A Knack for Making and Attracting Money That backing came February 1st in “funding from investors including Intel Capital, Toyota AI Ventures, JetBlue Technology Ventures, and Capricorn Investment Group, a …

Two “New” Battery Contenders

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

With Tesla’s announcement that its new battery pack for its Rev. 3 Roadster will increase the car’s range to as much as 400 miles (your mileage may vary), two contenders are putting proclaiming equivalent or better performance from their unique technologies.  These companies are relatively new, but have fairly long development histories.  They are both moving toward commercializing what otherwise would be academic demonstrations of their technologies. EnerG2 – Taking Carbon to New Levels A Seattle, Washington-based materials development firm, EnerG2’s Carbon Technology Platform (CTP), is based upon a polymer chemistry foundation, and according to the company, “represents an ability to engineer and synthesize high-performance, uniquely tailored high-purity carbons, at large scale and low cost.”  The company makes CTP materials …

Will VW Take on Tesla?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Volkswagen just bought a five-percent stake in a startup company called QuantumScape, a commercial spinoff of work done at Stanford University’s Nanoscale Prototyping Laboratory for Energy Conversion and Storage.  The Labroratory’s head, Fritz B. Prinz, Finmeccanica Professor of Engineering and Robert Bosch Chairman of Mechanical Engineering, explains: “Our team creates, models, and prototypes nanoscale structures to understand the physics of electrical energy conversion and storage. We are exploring the relation between size, composition, and the kinetics of charge transfer. We are also interested in learning from nature, in particular by studying the electron transport chain in plant cells.” (Note that the QuantumScape web site is curiously without detail, showing only four pretty pictures and making three or four non-controversial statements. …

Cool Bike, Cooler Batteries

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

A few years ago, Purdue University students Jim Danielson and Sean Kleinschmidt, helped launch the Purdue Electric Vehicles Club with physics major Tony “Danger” Coiro, who had created his own solar-powered motorcycle from a 1978 Suzuki he purchased for $50. Coiro drove around on his sun-mobile for less than one cent per mile. Just out of high school, Danielson and Kleinschmidt found another frugal ride, a 924 Porsche for a mere $500. The blown engine wasn’t a problem, since they replaced it with an electric forklift motor, controller and battery. The looks were great, although the poky top speed and lackadaisical acceleration strained against the image. Their initial success sent Kleinschmidt to a summer internship at Tesla where he worked …

The Sixth Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium

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

The CAFE Foundation will hold its sixth Electric Aircraft Symposium on April 27 and 28, 2012 at the Flamingo Resort in Santa Rosa, California and at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport, site of the Green Flight Challenge. Not only will there be a stellar lineup of speakers, but flying demonstrations of electric and hybrid aircraft, a first at any EAS. Jack Langelaan, team leader for the GFC-winning Electro Taurus G4 team, and Tine Tomazic from Pipistrel will share insights on the design and flight of the 403.5 epmpg aircraft.  David Calley, Chief Technical Officer for Motor Excellence, will describe ideal low-RPM motors for electric aircraft, and Mark Moore from NASA’s Langley Research Center will share breakthroughs in distributed …