Why battery-powered aircraft will never have significant range

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Victor Bravo

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
You really want a Triphibian Atomicar, by Swift Enterprises.
Their founder and CEO, Tom, is an old friend

Some news:

Aesquire

Well-Known Member
"It dawned on them “quite quickly” that small, regional airlines would be some of the first to transition to zero emission travel. "

Makes sense. Just as Motorgliders were the first semi-practical electric aircraft, regional feeder small airplanes will be first for passenger service.

FarmBoy

Well-Known Member

While I was confident with my projections in the above post, I did not think it was going to happen so fast:

It appears that 560 Wh/kg cell level batteries are on the horizon. For reference, this is >2x current Tesla cells and should allow integrated pack density of up to 400 Wh/kg which should be more than enough to make electric flight a quite viable option.

tspear

Well-Known Member
I like the reduction/elimination of cobalt. That is a fairly nasty material to mine/refine.

fizzle

Banned
this title is misleading, the planes with longer range are solar photovoltaic-battery electric aircrafts as solar impulse, helios etc.

also there's a difference between energy density and propulsion system or structural weight, called empty weight that makes pretoleum unpractical besides toxic, noisy, finite and currency dependent.

solar photovoltaic electric planes can have higher range if using structural batteries even having less energy density with 24Wh/kg because of the low structural weight overall and can have some uses or applications, however as it happens with cars they are expensive, toxic and have low lifecycle.

some of the scalable alternatives to petrol or internal combustion airplanes are the recent isothermal compressed air (4 times the energy density of lithium-ion) using pistonless rotary motors and hydrogen (the energy density is way higher) with micro gas turbines (more efficient than hydrogen piston or pistonless engines and fuel cells and don't require exotic catalytic materials) powering electric propellers.

besides both of them can use large fiber reinforced thermoplastic pressure vessels that only puncture in case of collision and act as the aircraft frame so more weight is reduced, however hydrogen is more expensive to obtain and flammable in case it leaks during a crash.

another propulsion system or assistance can be solar fresnell lens powered sterling engines that are more energy efficient and lighter than photovoltaic-electric motor

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Saville

Well-Known Member
It appears that 560 Wh/kg cell level batteries are on the horizon.

Let us know when they appear.

The horizon is very crowded with stuff that were "on the horizon"

BJC

fizzle

Banned
Let us know when they appear.

The horizon is very crowded with stuff that were "on the horizon"
wh/kg is misleading, another factor if not the most important is empty weight or structural+propulsion system weight that makes petrol unpractical besides toxic, noisy, finite and currency dependent

a structural carbon battery of 24wh/kg can have more range than the highest density battery or the more efficient engine block. however there are other options besides normal or structural batteries

henryk

Well-Known Member
structural+propulsion system
=more sophisticated solution=dirigables for energetic gases (yerth,hydrogen,metan and so on) transport=automatic pilot, some quantity of gases for drive power...

tspear

Well-Known Member
Let us know when they appear.

The horizon is very crowded with stuff that were "on the horizon"
Yes, microwaves, induction stoves, dishwashers, clothes washers, clothes dryers, cars, hybrid cards, cell phones, smart phones, "smart tvs".... the list goes on and on with things we now take for granted that one day were on the horizon.

Sure, some things never come to fruition (ok, most). But our lives are possible by what has arrived.

Tim

erkki67

Well-Known Member
I hope for my part that a fuel cell hybride will see daylight soon. Ideal would be if the fuelcell could be powered by Methanol, a liquide that contains a high degree of hydrogene.. Batteries could become smaller, and the fuelcell could slowly feed in cruise, and if any exess is available, it could recharge the battery.

Saville

Well-Known Member
Yes, microwaves, induction stoves, dishwashers, clothes washers, clothes dryers, cars, hybrid cards, cell phones, smart phones, "smart tvs".... the list goes on and on with things we now take for granted that one day were on the horizon.

Sure, some things never come to fruition (ok, most). But our lives are possible by what has arrived.

Tim
And among the crowd of things stuck on the horizon are a large selection of batteries that were going to revolutionize everything.

So again - let us know when your 560 Wh/kg cell level batteries
have left the horizon and have joined cell phones and dishwashers.

Saville

Well-Known Member
EzyBuildWing wrote (#1645):" Why ICE engines quit...... a really great vid..... none of these problems exist with electric....."

So much for EzyBuildWing's "none" in the text below, emphasis [bold underline] mine:

GM announced that it has issued a recall on every single Chevy Bolt made to date due to the battery fire risk. The move comes after two previous recalls, which were aimed at specific models.
The Bolt was first recalled in November after five cars that hadn’t been in crashes caught fire. After investigating the problem further, Chevy recalled a second batch in July. The problem was traced to two manufacturing defects that could occur simultaneously. The defects—a torn anode tab and a folded separator—created conditions that could lead to a short in affected cells. So far, the company has identified 10 fires that involve faulty batteries, according to an AP report.
This third and latest recall includes 73,000 Bolts made from 2019 to 2022, the current model year, and brings the total recall to nearly 142,000 cars, with over 100,000 having been sold in the US. GM estimates that the initial recalls will cost $800 million, and it expects the new one to add$1 billion to the total. GM said it will be seeking reimbursement from LG. […]
Until replacement batteries are ready and service appointments can be scheduled, GM has recommended that Bolt owners park their vehicles outside and limit their battery’s state of charge to 90 percent or lower. The company also recommended not letting the estimated range dip below 70 miles. GM says it is working with LG Chem to ramp up production of the replacement cells.

FarmBoy

Well-Known Member
I like the reduction/elimination of cobalt. That is a fairly nasty material to mine/refine.
Yes, I saw that as well. Makes them cheaper to produce too. The non flammable electrolyte is another welcome bonus!

tspear

Well-Known Member
@Saville

Sorry, you are incorrect. @EzyBuildWing is correct, so far none of the standard issues why an ICE fails/stops apply to EV. Instead, EVs have created all new issues, many of which we have yet to discover. I expect this is just the first of many such recalls.

Tim

FarmBoy

Well-Known Member
And among the crowd of things stuck on the horizon are a large selection of batteries that were going to revolutionize everything.

So again - let us know when your 560 Wh/kg cell level batteries
have left the horizon and have joined cell phones and dishwashers.
Appreciate your skepticism - a healthy dose of that is what also helps guide robust solutions. The items worthy of note that, to me, make this more viable are that all of the materials are common, mass production available options and that the coulombic efficiency and cycle life are within millimeters of a complete, production ready solution rather than just an interesting science project that has little hope of reproduction outside of the lab. They will, no doubt, garner plenty of capital to take this over the finish line.

Saville

Well-Known Member
@Saville

Sorry, you are incorrect. @EzyBuildWing is correct, so far none of the standard issues why an ICE fails/stops apply to EV. Instead, EVs have created all new issues, many of which we have yet to discover. I expect this is just the first of many such recalls.

Tim
Sorry no it is you who is incorrect:

In post #1645, EzyBuildWing posted that video and said that NONE of the issues presented in that video pertain to EV. That was the word he used: NONE.

My response then (#1669) and my recent statement in #1774 is still speaking to EzyBuildWing's statement in #1645.

You, on the other hand, just now tried to change the discussion by interjecting the word "standard":

" none of the standard issues why an ICE fails/stops apply to EV."

...without defining "standard".

In #1669, I then posted several examples from that very video that DO pertain to EV in post #1669. Some examples are:

1) The very FIRST category was "Mechanical Failure" at the 5:15 mark.

You're trying to tell us that electric propulsion DOES NOT have mechanical failure? Sheesh.....

3) Crankshafts fail due to prop strikes (around the 15:15 mark).

Are you trying to tell us that there will be no prop strikes with electric aircraft which then damage or destroy parts of the electric motor? You are still spinning a prop with lots of torque and rpm and there's still a prop shaft on bearings.

And here is the one that one of the Chevy Volt recalls match to:

4) 17:15 mark - failure because bolts were not torqued enough.

Are you trying to tell us that no mechanic will make a mistake and therefore there will be no failures due to bolts on the electric not properly torqued?

So sorry but you might want to read my reply a little more carefully.

Saville

Well-Known Member
Appreciate your skepticism - a healthy dose of that is what also helps guide robust solutions. The items worthy of note that, to me, make this more viable are that all of the materials are common, mass production available options and that the coulombic efficiency and cycle life are within millimeters of a complete, production ready solution rather than just an interesting science project that has little hope of reproduction outside of the lab. They will, no doubt, garner plenty of capital to take this over the finish line.
It would be nice if the for-decades-promised amazing advancements in battery tech actually occurred. I have nothing against the tech.

I am skeptical of any claim of future wonderfulness.

Show me the working hardware. Until you do I dismiss any "announcements" of amazing leaps in the tech.

Dana

Super Moderator
Staff member
Mod note; 4 posts deleted, keep it technical, please, politics and name calling not welcome here.

AOG