Sky Taxis, Eviation Featured on TV News

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60 Minutes and The Today Show have recently featured sky taxis and future electric airliners on their broadcasts.  This is big news in that such transport is getting recognition in popular media, and even somewhat of a fair hearing.  Even though references to the Jetsons are common in such reports, both these excursions seemed to be less wide-eyed, biased, and skeptical than most. Lift Hexa Although LIFT’s Hexa is featured prominently in publicity for the show, Wisk’s CEO is featured in this promotional piece.  “We’re excited to share that we’ll be on this weekend’s episode of @60Minutes on @cbstv! Be sure to tune in as our CEO, Gary Gysin, sits down with @AndersonCooper to talk about the future of #mobility!” …

Wright Electric’s 8-Year Plan

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, hydrogen, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Jeffrey Engler has headed up Wright Electric for the last decade, working to provide efficient motors, inverters and overall power systems for airliners.  Now, his firm is working to develop those airliners.  From a startup in 2016, looking for a single-engine light aircraft to convert to hybrid power, Jeffrey has grown Wright to a recognized force in future flight.  Presenting a mission statement and schedule for the next eight years, Wright has ambitious, but reasonable plans. Currently, Wright is testing a two megawatt motor and inverter, “Collaborating with NASA, U.S. Department of Energy, and U.S. Department of Defense.”  Testing will continue through 2023. The firm predicts it will be flying its Wright Spirit between the busiest “city-pairs” in the world …

Airbus and CFM: Flying on Hydrogen Power by 2035

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Airbus and engine maker CFM International have signed a partnership agreement on a hydrogen demonstration program that could see commercial flights by 2035.  CFM is a 50/50 joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines. The team announced its intentions in an hour-long introduction on February 22, with members from the companies explaining the goals of the project.  A view of what they intend to do with Airbus 380 serial number one gives a view inside the cavernous craft. As pointed out in a Green Car Congress article, the main objective is to develop and flight test a direct combustion engine fueled by liquid hydrogen. The Biggest Test Bed ZeroAvia seeks to get a 20-passenger liner in flight by 2024 …

Wright’s 2 MegaWatt Motor

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Jeffrey Engler of Wright Electric has huge ambitions, including producing a 186-seat electric airliner and now testing a two megawatt “aviation-grade motor for transport-category zero-emissions aircraft.”  If Engler’s vision becomes reality, “By 2040, Wright will eliminate carbon emissions from all flights under 800 miles.” Leap-frogging most other developer’s plans to make 10-, 19-, or even 50-passenger airliners, Wright plans a 186-seat, single-aisle airliner with distributed electric propulsion (DEP), spreading thrust across the wings and tail of the proposed craft Each motor will produce two megawatts (2,700 horsepower), greater than anything now flying.  When your editor first started writing about this new technology, even model aircraft builders were ganging several small electric motors to produce enough thrust for “3D”-style flight, demonstrating …

From Ganged Motors to Wright’s Two MegaWatts

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Twelve years ago, your editor gave his first talk at an electric aircraft symposium.  Dr. Brien Seeley asked that he include all motors up to 100 kilowatts in his talk – at that time a rarity.  Designers often had to “gang” small motors to drive a single propeller to obtain the necessary power.  Now, Wright Electric has announced its plans to develop motors (and associated equipment) in the 500 kilowatt to 20 megawatt range.  Motors of those sizes are still under development, but Wright claims to have tested and demonstrated “a megawatt-class, high performance inverter,” according to Green Car Congress. Jeff Engler is getting recognized for his vision.  Here he give his virtual elevator speech at the Davos, World Economic …

Wright Electric, ARPA-E, and Life’s Report Card

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If, as the infamous cartoon in the New Yorker proclaimed, “Money is life’s report card,” Jeff Engler’s Wright Electric got a least a B+ for its current semester.  While not as flush with cash as firms like Joby Aviation, eHang, or Volocopter, Wright received significant recognition for its initiative in designing high-efficiency electric motors with a high-frequency inverter and “an aggressive cooling strategy.”  The $647,039 ARPA-E grant will further Wright’s work on the ARPA-E ASCEND Project. ASCEND stands for Aviation-class Synergistically Cooled Electric-motors with iNtegrated Drives, a sure-fire Scrabble winner and pretty tortuous acronym. Phase one of the project takes the team through the detailed design and subcomponent testing for the system.  Phase two will see Wright build and demonstrate …

DOE Promotes Carbon Neutrality Aeronautically

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Both GreenCarCongress.com and CleanTechnica share information about the Department of Energy’s funding of 17 projects in two Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) categories.  Prepare for the inevitable rush of acronyms.  All the projects seem to be reserved for applications on single-aisle short- and intermediate-range airliners, with emphasis on economy of operation, carbon neutrality and lowest possible emissions. ASCEND Powertrain related, ASCEND (Aviation-class Synergistically Cooled Electric-motors with iNtegrated Drives) will fund nine projects with $14.5 in Phase 1 money.  Funds will help recipients, “Work to develop innovative, lightweight, and ultra-efficient all-electric powertrain with advanced thermal management systems that help enable efficient net-zero carbon emissions for single-aisle passenger commercial aircraft.” Raytheon Technologies Research Center has three projects in two ARPA-E categories, …

Wright Electric Reveals Big Plans

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While most anticipated new electric aircraft don’t seem to exceed 50 seats, Wright Electric has begun a more ambitious program for its 186-seat electric airliner, Wright 1.  In a January 30 press meeting at the Refinery Hotel in lower Manhattan, Wright announced plans to move forward with their design and testing program for a substantial electric airliner. Wright CEO Jeffrey Engler promised: “Wright Electric is dedicated to bringing low-emissions 186-seat electric planes systems to market. Wright Electric’s mission is to make commercial aviation greener, and our megawatt engine program is the next step in making our mission a reality.” Wright’s plans include moving its headquarters to Albany, New York, “to take advantage of the extraordinary local engineering talent.”  Wright will …

Norway and the Netherlands Electrifying Aviation

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Two European states that will benefit from the electrification of short-range airline flights are becoming strong proponents of new technology.  Norwegian Would The Guardian headlined its article on greener airlines this way: “Norway aims for all short-haul flights to be 100% electric by 2040.”   A subheadline explained, “It already has more electric cars than any other country in the world and also has shipping projects underway.”  That’s in terms of market share, with electric and hybrid vehicles representing more than half of new car registrations in 2017.  Avinor, the public operation of Norway’s airports, says short-haul airliners should be entirely electric by 2040, cementing the Nordic nation’s role as a pioneer in the field of electric transport.  Chief executive Dag …

The C4V Battery – Solid-State in Production?

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Jeffrey Engler of Wright Electric posted an item about Charge CCCV, LLC (C4V) which “demonstrated a prototype of its new Solid State Battery (SSB) at the NY BEST 2018 Fall Conference in New York.  The Company’s SSB solution delivers higher performance, higher density, lower cost batteries that promise to require significantly less charging time than others.”  The startup announced a 380 Watt-hour-per-kilogram battery already in production.  Since your editor tends to become a bit snarky about the usual two-to-five-year period of anticipation before these numbers become reality, he rushed to check out the claims. Plausible Numbers, but Uncertain Time Frame The firm’s numbers are not wildly excessive, and they seem to be getting funding and finding partnerships with established companies.  …