VoltAir Electric Aircraft Concept

Is an electric-powered aircraft possible? Now that jet aircraft have been identified as a serious source of carbon dioxide, as well as condensation trails (contrails) that inject vapor high into the atmosphere, research into the idea has been growing.


(VoltAir electric plane video)

it's very welcome to read of a plan from the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS, for short) to develop an all-electric aircraft that it hopes could fly the skies within 20 years.

Here's how the idea—which EADS calls an "upstream research concept, not a near-term commercial approach"—would work. The VoltAir, as the plane is tentatively dubbed, would be powered by enormous lithium-ion batteries, with energy densities of 1,000 Wh/kg. (Extrapolating from recent progress in battery research and development, EADS thinks this goal attainable in two decades.) The jumbo batteries would then power motors, which would drive counter-rotating propellers at the plane's tail end. And as if it were some child's toy, once the plane has landed, airlines could simply swap out the spent batteries with pre-charged ones, cutting down time currently spent refueling.

Setting matters of conscience aside, EADS thinks an all-electric aircraft would also lend itself to a generally improved in-flight experience. The plane would be quieter, for one thing, both because the engines would be inherently less noisy and because they'd be sequestered at the rear of the plane. The novel shape of the fuselage EADS envisions would also make for a more spacious cabin, meaning less clambering over fellow passengers or squeezing awkwardly past them in the aisle.

IN his 1930 novel The Black Star Passes, sf great John W. Campbell writes about an aircraft powered by electricity from solar power.

"Dad, I believe that you have been trying to develop a successful solar engine. One that could be placed in the wings of a plane to generate power from the light falling on that surface..."
(Read more about Campbell's solar-powered aircraft)

Via MIT's Technology Review.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/21/2011)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Transportation ")

Musk Tunnels Wisely Restrict Drivers
Too many robots.

Amazing Tesla Autopilot Video
'As the beautiful old car cruised in almost perfect silence under the guidance of its automatic controls...' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1976.

Mercedes-Benz Autonomous Taxi Fleet In 3 Years
'... the taxi utilized sophisticated electronic sensors to perceive its surroundings.' - Allan Dean Foster, 2006.

President Trump's Wall As Otra Nation Hyperloop
'...an hollow tube must be constructed the whole distance... as to admit a four wheeled carriage...'- George Medhurst, 1812.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'

Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.'

SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels
'The window cleaners, with large padded feet...'

Pangorin Restaurant Service Robots
What'll you have? Jawa juice?

Drug Creates Real Melanin Tan
I've used them all my life...

Medical Drones Hover Like Angels Near You
'The death-reversal equipment is on its way...'

SkEye Amazing Israeli Gigapixel Drone
'An eye that could not only see, but fly...'

How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio
'Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function.'

'Liquid Light' Flows Around Corners
Light as a superfluid.

Unrolling The Filmy Materials Of Space Tech
'When unfolded and unrolled... it became a tough, gleaming film.'

Buddy Companion Robot Your Bulbous Friend
'Nanny was built in the shape of a sphere, a large metal sphere, flattened on the bottom...'

Poli-X1 Prototype Bee Pollinator
Is there anything drones can't do?

Bake in Space Bake-Off... In Space!
'A joyous condition commenced for the cook in the electric kitchen...'

DeepMind AI Baffled By Homer Simpson, Needs Human Help
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off...'

Does Earth's Middle Mantle Hold Oceans Of Water?
Al Gore, you have no idea.

Vaccine Blocks Heroin High
'You're biochemically incapable of getting off...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.