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homebuilderfan

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Batteries are "cool", electricity used in mobility seems it is becoming the panacea of all our problems.
But when it comes to an everyday use it happens that a lot of "new" problems arise. Why? It is not so easy to have a good substitute for the heavily criticized oil.
More than a century of large use made people to get used to a series of features; to come back is hard, for everyone.

So, leaving out the claims ("this battery will be powerful, long lasting, eco friendly, etc..."), can you tell me if there is something that might be used in light aircrafts? Except the Li-ion batteries?
I mean: a battery that doesn't want to explode, that can be charged in a reasonable amount of time, light enough to be put onto an aircraft, that has a demonstrated high energy density, that can live years?
As you can see I haven't listed the cost.
I hope this post will get lot of replies...
Fabri


*I have some more info about a new kind of energy package I'd like to know more about. But I have to decide if I have to open a new post. We'll see.
 

Dana

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Use the forum search function, there have been many discussions of electric aircraft here.
 

tspear

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Short answer is it depends.
As a power source for a self powered glider, sure.
As a power source for a trainer that stays in pattern sure.
Not much beyond that yet.

But as Dana stated, look for electric aircraft. Batteries are an offshoot of the discussion.

Tim
 

Himat

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Batteries are "cool", electricity used in mobility seems it is becoming the panacea of all our problems.
But when it comes to an everyday use it happens that a lot of "new" problems arise. Why? It is not so easy to have a good substitute for the heavily criticized oil.
More than a century of large use made people to get used to a series of features; to come back is hard, for everyone.

So, leaving out the claims ("this battery will be powerful, long lasting, eco friendly, etc..."), can you tell me if there is something that might be used in light aircrafts? Except the Li-ion batteries?
I mean: a battery that doesn't want to explode, that can be charged in a reasonable amount of time, light enough to be put onto an aircraft, that has a demonstrated high energy density, that can live years?
As you can see I haven't listed the cost.
I hope this post will get lot of replies...
Fabri


*I have some more info about a new kind of energy package I'd like to know more about. But I have to decide if I have to open a new post. We'll see.
Batteries want to explode?
Compared to petrol fuel even lithium polymer batteries are not that bad. Handled correct different lithium chemistry batteries are as safe as petrol handled correct. On the other properties like energy density, service life and cost there are somewhat to be desired.

Actually one thing that favours petrol and other oil based fuels are that the airplane do not have to carry the oxidiser as well as the fuel. Carrying oxygen as well as diesel fuel has not been widespread even on submarine designs…
 

rbrochey

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Gallup, New Mexico USA
It would take some kind of engineering development that isn't there yet... The French have some interesting electric designs but anything that has to rely on an external power source to juice it up is probably using some polluting fossil fuel anyway so I don't know, may be awhile. I read recently about a Russian vessel that was able to go through some channel in Antarctica for the first time without an icebreaker needed... so the poles are softening up and as the sea level rises maybe we should be looking at salt water powered aircraft? I just built a salt water powered model car for my daughters science project... (a "QWIKIT" Salt Water Monster Truck Kit OWI-752)...

For the time being all we can do is keep dumping toxins into our pretty airplanes until something better comes along... IMHO
 

Arthur Brown

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London
Lithium batteries must work, every mobile phone has one or more. Their safety is largely dependant on their charge and discharge controllers -which are NOT trivial. What you want from a plane determines whether battery power is appropriate. Purportedly the typical private flyer does 45min flights in daytime so being home to recharge is no issue. BUT that means that going far will be impossible, with current battery and motor technology.

If you want to go far then oil is the only logical fuel at the moment, but I can see a plane with Lithium batteries and say 1Kw of solar panels offering an hour of free flying every week maybe three hours in the summer.
 

12notes

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Batteries are an industrial technology, and, at best, you can expect a 3-5% increase in power density per year. Unfortunately, they are put in nearly every type of object with a CPU, which double in speed every 18 months, and people don't understand why the batteries don't advance as fast.

I'm sure batteries will reach the required energy density and rechargability to be practical in airplanes within my lifetime (it is happening now for cars), but I doubt it will be within the next 10 years.
 

homebuilderfan

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Feb 22, 2015
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Italy
Use the forum search function, there have been many discussions of electric aircraft here.
You are right: about electric aircrafts. The informations are all over the forum and, obviously, not all the info are batteries related.
I am trying to get all the updated (2017) information available about the batteries. Why only about this item? Because they are creating the biggest problems when you decide to go electric.
I really appreciate the "big video topic" or the "crash in the news" because you know what you are going to find there.
 

homebuilderfan

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Italy
Short answer is it depends.
As a power source for a self powered glider, sure.
As a power source for a trainer that stays in pattern sure.
Not much beyond that yet.

But as Dana stated, look for electric aircraft. Batteries are an offshoot of the discussion.

Tim
You are right, I didn't say what the mission was: exactly the SAME that every airplane can accomplish.
I mean: I want understand if there is something available (batteries) that can allow to go electric without losing ANY of the features of the petrol version.
So a cross country or an aerobatic aircraft that can behave in the same way of the petrol version. No limits.
 

tspear

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Oneida
You are right, I didn't say what the mission was: exactly the SAME that every airplane can accomplish.
I mean: I want understand if there is something available (batteries) that can allow to go electric without losing ANY of the features of the petrol version.
So a cross country or an aerobatic aircraft that can behave in the same way of the petrol version. No limits.
The short answer is no.

Tim
 

Monty

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Jul 15, 2010
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Fayetteville, AR / USA
LiFePO4 chemistry is much more stable. This was what the A123 batteries used, and has close to the power density of a Lipo.
I just installed one of these in my EAA bipe. It all started with a top overhaul. Then the while I'm at its took over. I kept finding things I didn't like. Mostly plumbing and wiring. After its all said and done, I will probably have removed 100 lbs of excess weight from the airplane!

Wood prop (saves a ridiculous amount of weight)
Remove generator and controller (haven't seen anything like this since working on a 1950 Willys...)
Remove old bendix style starter (looks to belong on a bulldozer)
Install light weight starter and alternator. (tiny)
Remove primer (open cockpit, flown in warm weather, preheat, and accelerator pump. Many o290s didn't have a primer)
Remove oil cooler (most 0290s did not have one. D2s did, but my D2 has low compression pistons...so...)
Remove plenum and replace with regular baffle system this thing only goes 110mph....why does it need a heavy plenum.
Remove ridiculous, redundant, and dangerous fuel plumbing (honestly no words..)
Get rid of stupid oil separation system needed because they put the crankcase vent on the back of the accessory case where oil is being slung everywhere, instead of from the front of the engine as intended...
Move battery from behind cockpit to firewall
Get rid of separate starter solenoid.
Fuse all circuits.

New battery. LiFePo it has over 200 cold cranking amps and weighs nothing. It and the battery box I made for it weigh less than the battery tray for the old aircraft battery. RIDICULOUS!!

LIPO.jpg

It and the new starter turn the engine over at a frighteningly fast rpm compared to the old set up.

That said, the new battery really acts more like a capacitor. It can deliver a tremendous punch for a short period of time, but the amp hours are pretty low. Doesn't matter on this electrically independent, simple aircraft. Great for a starter battery, not so much for propulsion.

Just keep in mind the battery energy density is still a couple orders of magnitude below hydrocarbons for the best stuff there is, and you have to carry BOTH your oxidizer and fuel around, and you don't burn off Fuel or Oxidizer weight as you fly....

don't believe the hype.
 

Dana

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Aesquire

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Batteries achieved better than gasoline energy density in Heinlein's stories from 1940. Also high efficiency solar panels.

Unfortunately that's science fiction. So are nuclear powered flying cars.

That doesn't mean we should give up on electric power. It does mean we should not lie to ourselves that the technology exists today.

And in a very realist cynical mode I point out that your mythical battery powered RV-10 isn't going to be able to be charged at the airport on your cross country trip unless you park a truck or trailer with a generator along your route.

There's enough complaints here about mogas availability. You think that FBO can afford 220 volt fast chargers? Or that the local power company will increase power generation peak capacity to be able to power chargers plus air conditioning on a hot summer day? Expect to be only allowed juice off peak. Every fuel stop is now an overnight.
 
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Aesquire

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Don't get me wrong. I'm thrilled that I now have an electric alternative to gasoline power for my future aircraft. Available today!

Range is laughable, which on a motor glider is acceptable. It's only the problem that it more than doubles the price that is keeping me from visiting the folk here in my Tom Swift Jr. Triphibian Atomicar. ( or pit trike..... the mundane name )
 

choppergirl

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air-war.org
Batteries... have their own.. headaches...

Right now I'm hating lithium batteries. I came into three high res. little hand held digital cameras for free, so I thought I'd buy a charger and some CRV3 lithium digital camera batteries for them. My new cheap Chinese charger's cut off circuit didn't work, and in no short order I turned three CRV3 lithium batteries into useless bricks. If your charger overcharges them, which is not hard to do, they build up a deposit on the anodes and still register the right voltage, but can't deliver any amps or sustain the voltage for long.

After doing some research posted by other users, I learned all this, and that you don't want to strive for a full charge on lithium batteries because of aforementioned reasons, but use them from a state of not full charged. They have no memory like NiCads so no problem.

Also, after 4-5 years lithium batteries go bad simply from time, or so I read. I've destroyed them by keeping them in the refrigerator or freezer (which slows charge depletion), unfortunately what you don't read is moisture or frost will complete a circuit between the terminals and short them out dead.

I've fought with Lead Acid car batteries plenty, trying to knock the lead sulfate off the poles, keep them charged, trickle charge them (which never seems to work forever), etc. Lead Acid car batteries seem to last about 5-7 years.
 

Himat

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There's enough complaints here about mogas availability. You think that FBO can afford 220 volt fast chargers? Or that the local power company will increase power generation peak capacity to be able to power chargers plus air conditioning on a hot summer day? Expect to be only allowed juice off peak. Every fuel stop is now an overnight.
There are ways around the high current draw. It is in use locally where one of the car ferry services are by an electric ferry with on board batteries for energy storage. The charging stations on each shore have their own battery packs to be able to provide the energy for recharging fast enough.

http://www.ship-technology.com/projects/norled-zerocat-electric-powered-ferry/
 

tspear

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Aesquire

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That is cool indeed. I suppose you could put a 50kwh battery in your hanger and quick charge your plane and a buddy's, but that budget is beyond me. Still doesn't deal with cross country flight.

Yes, this is true with cars today, and there's a LOT of money going into building the infrastructure for electric cars, just as the last century did for petroleum. ( and how different a world if Henry Ford had chosen alcohol? )

I would guess that there are FBOs that make enough money to invest in paying the electric company to feed them the juice and buy the charging stations, but I have always been under the impression that like restaurants, a small airport FBO is a thing of thin margins and high labor investment by the owner.

I see the operations at the Rochester International Airport, and even there, I see company turnover. Hogsmead International, ( they had a DC-3 land there one day from Ireland, once. The crew was Obliviated, of course ) isn't likely to have the spare cash for a big capital investment. ( The Broom reconditioning shop has been there since 1732 )
 
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