Breaking News
Blog

The future of electric aircraft

Blog
8/13/2010 08:59 AM EDT

 3 comments   post a comment
NO RATINGS
View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
AlexKovnat
User Rank
Rookie
re: The future of electric aircraft
AlexKovnat   9/10/2010 12:17:05 PM
NO RATINGS
Ethanol is regarded as not a good fuel for airplanes, for two reasons: One, it tends to corrode or dissolve components of aircraft engines and fuel systems that were originally designed for aviation gasoline and Two, ethanol has only 60% of the energy content, volume- or weight-wise, as avgas. So, here's a question for those participating in this forum: How would a piston engine aircraft designed to tolerate and make the best of E-85 (85% ethanol and the rest, suitable hydrocarbons), compare with a lithium ion battery powered electric plane, regarding performance and range? Although its energy content is less, ethanol has a very good antiknock (octane) rating, which partially compensates for its lower energy content vis-a-vis gasoline. So for some pilots, expecially those who fly just for fun, an ethanol powered piston plane might make sense.

Robotics Developer
User Rank
Rookie
re: The future of electric aircraft
Robotics Developer   8/24/2010 9:04:51 PM
NO RATINGS
The electrification of the aircraft is exciting for what it may generate: higher efficiency electric motors, increased power density batteries, lower cost high capacity batteries, reduction in noise around airports, the use of alternate fuels (to generate the electricity that charges batteries), and increased efforts in lightweight aircraft construction. These are all tangible technical benefits to the efforts and successes in electric flight. I would like to understand more fully the cost trade-offs involved with the components used on a "typical" electric airplane. As a starting point: the cost of the batteries (including lifetimes) / electric motors / controllers versus standard airplane propulsion systems. Until and unless the electric option is really cost competitive these planes will never really take off in the marketplace.

Duane Benson
User Rank
Blogger
re: The future of electric aircraft
Duane Benson   8/18/2010 11:31:06 PM
NO RATINGS
I'd like to see a bit more technical detail on just how a hybrid fossil fuel/electric aircraft power plant can really gain efficiency. Automotive gasoline engines spent most of their running time in the least efficient power bands giving a lot of opportunity to use the different efficiency characteristics of an electric power plant to improve economy or power. Aircraft engines tend to run in three places: full or near full power during climb, most efficient (or close to it) during cruise and low power during descent. I don't see the same opportunities for efficiency improvements there that I see in the automotive world.

Flash Poll
Radio
LATEST ARCHIVED BROADCAST
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.
Like Us on Facebook

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed
Top Comments of the Week