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Old 29th Nov 2017, 04:04
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: fairly close to the colonial capitol
Age: 51
Posts: 1,687
Interesting question, Lomapaseo. I do not have an exact answer, but I do know that kerosene contains 100 times the energy by weight compared to electric storage batteries. We all know weight is of primary importance when considering things airborne.

I can tell you current (Tesla) battery manufacturing prices are around $200 per kilowatt hour. Consider the current price of kerosene, and the fact that one gallon is equivalent to around 40 kilowatt hours of energy and the scope of the challenge becomes more apparent.

Consider it takes around 90 megawatts to get a typical 747 in the air, the cost of batteries powering the original jumbo, if we set aside the enormous weight penalty, is quite staggering - $200x90,000 = a very large figure - and that's just to get airborne.

Of course those batteries are rechargeable, but the initial capital cost buys a lot of liquid fuel and thus we remain plying the skies on carbon based fuels for the foreseeable future, again leaving aside the weight problem.

Not trying to be a totally negative Nancy, as I feel renewable power is our best bet for the future, but consider this: An operational reality that is often left out of discussions involving battery powered aircraft is weight. A lesser, yet consequential aspect of that weight is how a conventionally powered aircraft gets lighter and more efficient as the fuel is consumed, while battery powered aircraft land at nearly the same weight that they took off - after power is depleted, the battery dead weight remains the same.
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