Well... I guess I'll have to discussI picked the "never" for a good reason, next to being sure to lead to a lot of discussion. The point is that we are up to fundamental limits, not some artificial barrier in progress. Over the last 30 years we have only seen a two-fold increase in energy density in batteries, though they've gotten much more practical. We are fairly close to the theoretical limitations and those we will never surpass. Just like a prop can't be >100% efficient, a piston engine can't exceed 60-something percent thermal efficiency etc.
That's highly dependent on how you define "small electric GA revolution". For trainers, local flights etc, battery-powered GA is feasible today.In short, for all this hopalla about 'small electric GA revolution' to work, I feel we need one chemistry leap up.
That's a revolution that's hard to predict. It cant really be put on a timeline. But 'impossible'? No. Really no.
What Wh/kg are you using for this?Even the very best theoretical possible batteries (excluding Li-F) will yield a reasonably efficient airframe (SR22) to have a range of only 145 miles if you don't climb too high. Climb a bit higher or demand half an hour of extra "fuel" and you're still down to dozens of miles of range.
Marginally possible, not really practical yet. Some improvements (battery capacity & cost) are still needed to make it the preferable choice.That's highly dependent on how you define "small electric GA revolution". For trainers, local flights etc, battery-powered GA is feasible today.
For going distances ... get a hybrid using free-piston linear generator (if/when it finally becomes feasible/practical, hmmmm)But going somewhere?
Unless there's something wrong with my math, how could that ever be practical for going distances?
-but... (thrust force=80 kG/kW !!!)Marginally possible, not really practical yet. Some improvements (battery capacity & cost) are still needed to make it the preferable choice.
For going distances ... get a hybrid using free-piston linear generator (if/when it finally becomes feasible/practical, hmmmm)
Personally I think as a power launch glider, the electric/solar, is potentially here now and very practical. It should be much more reliable than any small gas engine, and landing out would be history if there was any lift and not much juice was used. Someone might just make some money in aviation with an off the shelf system (or plans for same) at a reasonable price, (equal to a gas engine price). With all the electric bicycles and motorcycles coming out it might be just around the corner.
On one hand, yes, chances are we'll find new ways to make energy storage solutions that soundly improve on lithium.For current Li-ion types, yes, I agree.
But do note that battery technology isn't really a 'trend' sort of improvement. Its advances in fits and starts with a sudden introduction of new chemical types and lackluster to flat improvements after. Given the titanic amounts of R&D money being thrown at this problem with portable electronics, and soon (gov mandated, note china) large portions of auto industry, its really hard to predict what sort of advances we'll see in 10-20 years.
Yes, and prior to the late 1800's, scientists of the day had already discovered all the basic elements of flight, and determined that mechanical, heavier-than-air flight was a physical impossibility. And continued research found a way.... But, as the original video states, we've already discovered the basic elements: we're not finding any hidden new elements/chemicals that are lighter or more efficient unless we totally misunderstand how the universe works.
We can devise alternative ways of extracting energy from materials, but will that really be a battery?
Only reason I bring up battery as a semantic point is the video from the OP makes it's assumptions basically on that premise.Yes, and prior to the late 1800's, scientists of the day had already discovered all the basic elements of flight, and determined that mechanical, heavier-than-air flight was a physical impossibility. And continued research found a way.
Some of the big pushes in physics today are in the way the "configuration" of materials can radically alter their physical properties. "Metamaterials", as only one example, can have physical properties vastly different than their component materials. There's no reason some similar discovery can't be found for energy storage. The field is extremely young.
"Will the energy storage device be a battery" is entirely a matter of sematics, and how you define the word. And really, does it matter? As prospective pilots of an a hypothetical electric airplane, are we really caring about the nature of the energy storage device? All we care about is that it stores enough energy for the airplane to perform its design mission, at a low enough weight to allow that mission to be possible. Limiting the boundaries of "what's possible" to "chemical batteries" is foolish, IMHO. A thousand years from now, anything we have today will seem as primitive as the technology of the year 1017 AD seems to us today. More so, since technology advances so much faster as it feeds on itself, allowing further and further reach. To claim we have such perfect current-day understanding of physics and engineering as to never permit significant advancement is high hubris, IMHO.
Someday, very likely in my own lifetime at the rate we're going, there will be an energy-storage device that will allow a practical "cruising" airplane. Will that storage device be a battery? Will it be a "supercapcitor"? Will it be something else as-yet unnamed?
I honestly don't know, and I honestly couldn't care less.
Steam has its advantages, as it can unleash absolutely massive energy for short periods without overheating the drive components, like 3 pounds of steam contains enough energy for a Dodge Viper to do a quarter mile drag.Electric to Steam? Simple hot water heater element.....Now there is a storage device, also as is used up one is not carrying the water around. Light weight composite tank, diamond orifices and valves, and at least 150 year old technology. No guts no glory.