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Electric powered commercial aircraft -- here we go!

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Electric powered commercial aircraft -- here we go!

Old 31st Dec 2019, 07:08
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I think the driver behind these electric aircraft is more political than technical.
There's all sorts of reasons why battery power isn't the leading alternative to conventional fuel for aircraft.

Sadly, I think this is mainly virtue signalling- not generally a good thing in a safety critical field.
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Old 31st Dec 2019, 07:49
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Originally Posted by Nomad2
Sadly, I think this is mainly virtue signalling- not generally a good thing in a safety critical field.
Could be virtue signalling, but I think it is more likely an attempt to exploit the gullibility of very rich people in the face of a fashionable new technology. Startup sets up glossy website with words created by marketing; startup attracts investment; startup burns through capital (especially with salaries to founders); startup fails, hey startups are risky. How about an electric flying car?
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Old 31st Dec 2019, 08:20
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Originally Posted by Longtimer
"The real downside of biofuel for aircraft is the amount of arable land that would have to be taken away from growing food crops to provide the materials for biofuels.
Fuel consumption for international aviation could be as high as 852 million tonnes (Mt) by 2050 (ICAO, 2016), and could require 426 Mt of bio-jet to meet the GHG emissions-reduction goals. Current production, however, is currently very limited, at less than 0.1% of global total consumption of all types of jet fuels."
Foillowing is a goto to a paper on the subject: https://www.irena.org/documentdownlo...ation_2017.pdf
Precisely.
Read closely what regulator ICAO say of hydrocarbon based fuel. They have no replacement, the "strategy" is to offset by planting trees in some place; out of sight, out of mind, all the while the industry will consume more and more of the hydrocarbon based fuel.
They have no viable alternative such that by mid century aviation will be a substantial emitter. Unlike their sisters in maritime, ICAO are not proposing a phasing out of hydrocarbon based fuel and there is one very simple reason: There is no commercially viable alternative.

Their ETS (only on international aviation) doesn't start until 2027 all the while the industry continues to grow at around 5% per annum.

Biofuel is technically feasible, but commercially a nonsense: The sheer amount of land required to grow the stuff means a crowding out of food crops...
Electric aircraft sound lovely in theory, as do laminar flow wings and all the rest. Ignoring the limits of battery technology, the redesign of the world's airports, all done by diesel powered equipment, ICAO will continue to fly around the world in business class like any other branch of the UN..
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Old 31st Dec 2019, 11:36
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Question Hydrogen? Carbon-Fibre Tanks?

I bumped into a post on the BBC Site yesterday which I thought was interesting -- a hydrogen-powered drone that uses a Carbon Fibre tank. Not mucch "plus" at the moment, while most of our electricity (to produce the H2) comes from gas, but once electrical power is "all green" it could be another alternative.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/busine...-future-travel
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Old 31st Dec 2019, 11:53
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I know it has its problems too, but Hydrogen- recovered from seawater by electrolysis powered by wind turbines standing in the same seawater, seems the obvious way to go.
The Hydrogen and Oxygen could be stored in floatable tanks at each wind turbine, and towed ashore to be used.
In use, it only gives off water- I think it must be the purest renewable fuel.
If we could 'crack' the technical problems involved in storing the stuff, transporting it, and then using it, it might be a really 'green' replacement fuel.

Have a look at Lockheeds' SUNTAN aircraft to see both the problems and practicalities of such aircraft, and for a hint at how H powered jet engines might evolve.

Putting batteries on aircraft is pointless- it's just a way of storing some electricity, whose manufacture probably involved burning coal....
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Old 31st Dec 2019, 13:13
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Originally Posted by Nomad2
The Hydrogen and Oxygen could be stored in floatable tanks at each wind turbine, and towed ashore to be used.
Would you really want to store the oxygen?

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Old 31st Dec 2019, 16:02
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The hydrogen would certainly float - away - it would take a lot of holding down

Far less trouble to cable the power ashore and produce the hydrogen on shore, you could then feed it into the gas grid without compressing it.
Liquid Hydrogen has only 1\5 the energy density of Jet fuel, any engine can be run off hydrogen but in most cases space and weight as well as cost makes it unattractive. Maybe it could be useful for ships where space and weight are not a critical factor
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Old 31st Dec 2019, 21:48
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I did not know until just now that the US Navy is working on synthesizing jet fuel from sea water. Sounds like one of those schemes advertised on YouTube, but here is a press release from the Naval Research Laboratory: NRL Press Release

The process uses a lot of electricity, but nuclear-powered carriers have a lot of electricity available. Smithsonian magazine (a bit of a rag) gives a production cost of between USD3.00 and USD6.00, which is expensive for fuel but saves the cost of replenishing at sea.

This looks like a viable route for the electrification of aviation, using sustainable electricity (off-shore windfarms, perhaps) to synthesize fuel appropriate for aircraft.
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Old 1st Jan 2020, 11:31
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The research project produced 1 gallon per day so there is a long way to go to be useful.
A carrier would certainly have enough electricity to power the process but I doubt they have the space to install a plant large enough to be
worthwhile along with all the other facilities they have
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Old 21st Aug 2022, 02:47
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Harbour Air has flown their electric Beaver 40nm from Vancouver to the seaplane base at Victoria International.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/briti...ight-1.6557011
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Old 21st Aug 2022, 07:48
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Not exactly news . . .

Apologies that I don't have references handy but in the 3 years since I last posted on this thread, a few companies are already flying scheduled short-haul passenger flight in North America and Europe.
Contrary to my last entry, the aircraft that are being used seem to be going the way of battery power (rather than hydrogen) possibly due to the slow but steady inprovement of battery weight and capacity. Longer term I'm keeping my money on hydrogen (probably in carbon fibre tanks and filled from solar, wind/, and probably nuclear generation).
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Old 21st Aug 2022, 08:43
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I'd put my money on SAF.
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Old 21st Aug 2022, 09:06
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SAF

SAF Air in Africa ? ?
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Old 21st Aug 2022, 09:09
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Synthetic aviation fuel. Liquid fuel like kerosene but made from different sources like salt water algae or whatever.

https://www.neste.com/products/all-p...SAAEgKJoPD_BwE
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Old 21st Aug 2022, 10:06
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Fuel from salt water ? I can't see that unless by using electrolysis.
As for algae -- maybe, but could it be grown in an area that we don't need for fuel?
You forgot to mention recaimed cooking oils -- nice thinking but but we'd have to compare the consumption of holidays by 'plane with consumption of fish & chips
Seriously, I understand that synthetics added to petrol/gasoline are starting to compete with grains for human consumption -- I don't think we could safely get all of our aviation fuel from the fields.
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Old 21st Aug 2022, 10:09
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Fuel made from biomass from algae grown in salt water, not needing drinking water. Preferably grown in desert areas not using farmland.
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Old 21st Aug 2022, 16:21
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Why.
we have way more hydrocarbon substrate than we need, and we can use LNG for ground transport and Jet-a for air, essentially indefinitely if we stop doing stupid stuff like burning gas to make electricity.
we can make energy with current fission technologies now indefinitely, and much better technology exists.
(how many US naval nuclear vessels have had accidents?)
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Old 21st Aug 2022, 16:32
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Originally Posted by Less Hair
Fuel made from biomass from algae grown in salt water, not needing drinking water. Preferably grown in desert areas not using farmland.
There is a more than plentiful supply of Sargassum algae that is choking the Caribbean at present. It propagates on the surface of seawater not on the seabed.
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Old 21st Aug 2022, 16:51
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Originally Posted by 421dog
Why.
we have way more hydrocarbon substrate than we need, and we can use LNG for ground transport and Jet-a for air, essentially indefinitely if we stop doing stupid stuff like burning gas to make electricity.
we can make energy with current fission technologies now indefinitely, and much better technology exists.
(how many US naval nuclear vessels have had accidents?)
Not LNG -- tHAT STANDS FOR "Lquefied Natural Gas". Basically a variant of stuff that we use for our cookers and gas fires now, "Jet-A" is what we use for aircraft, which is as bad as petrol/gasoline.

However nucliar would be good (and even cheaper !) if only we could avoid having very long life dangerous "spent" fuel, like, using Thorium instead of Uranium as fuel. Preferably in SNRs (Small Nuclear Reactors) which can be constructed far faster than "conventional" systems.

Last edited by ExSimGuy; 21st Aug 2022 at 16:56. Reason: (finger trouble !)
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Old 21st Aug 2022, 20:32
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Originally Posted by ExSimGuy

However nucliar would be good (and even cheaper !) if only we could avoid having very long life dangerous "spent" fuel, like, using Thorium instead of Uranium as fuel. Preferably in SNRs (Small Nuclear Reactors) which can be constructed far faster than "conventional" systems.
Investigating a catastrophic crash, e.g. around a crater, would be extremely hazardous. An urban crash even more so.
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