Could you create a battery powered plane?

  • #51
RonL
Gold Member
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This puts life into an old idea of an electric jet engine :)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_Nuclear_Propulsion

Indirect Air Cycle
Indirect cycling involves thermal exchange outside of the core with compressor air being sent to a heat exchanger. The nuclear reactor core would heat up pressurized water or liquid metal and send it to the heat exchanger as well. That hot liquid would be cooled by the air; the air would be heated by the liquid and sent to the turbine. The turbine would send the air out the exhaust, providing thrust.
The Indirect Air Cycle program was assigned to Pratt & Whitney, at a facility near Middletown, Connecticut. This concept would have produced far less radioactive pollution. One or two loops of liquid metal would carry the heat from the reactor to the engine. This program involved a great deal of research and development of many light-weight systems suitable for use in aircraft, such as heat exchangers, liquid-metal turbopumps and radiators. The Indirect Cycle program never came anywhere near producing flight-ready hardware.[8]
 
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  • #52
jrmichler
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  • #53
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Not exactly a pure electric airplane, but a hybrid combustion/electric aircraft... actually a retrofit of a 50 year old design.

From today's Wall Street Journal:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/electric-switch-old-planes-get-makeovers-in-race-for-the-skies-11563200318

that _may_ be behind a paywall..... here are a few other articles on the same plane:

https://www.dw.com/en/ampaire-test-flies-worlds-biggest-electric-plane/a-49098126
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/ampaire-test-flies-worlds-biggest-electric-plane/ar-AACxoIr
https://www.aviationtoday.com/2019/06/06/ampaire-hybrid-electric-cessna-flight/
diogenesNY
 
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  • #54
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The twin-engine plane will be able to carry seven to nine passengers and boasts a range of up to 100 miles (160 kilometers).
Can serve some remote places and island chains.
 
  • #55
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Not exactly a pure electric airplane, but a hybrid combustion/electric aircraft... actually a retrofit of a 50 year old design.
Good catch, @diogenesNY, I heard an interview with Ampaire CEO, Kevin Noertker, recently, and he noted that once cruising altitude was achieved, the energy requirements of fixed-wing flight lend themselves to electric motors. This forms the basis of their hybrid design, which complements a traditional engine, rather than trying to entirely replace it. It seems a reasonable bridging technology until (if?) batteries reach fossil fuel-like energy densities, though I not sure how it would work in a large passenger jetliner.
 
  • #56
RonL
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  • #57
A.T.
Science Advisor
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There is an effort currently in the UK to convert a small passenger commuter transport to electric power.
The aircraft flies an island hop route involving very short distances, so the range deficiency of electrics is less problematical.
A BBC report on the project is here:
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-45876604

This is a reasonable next step in this development effort.
Similar plans for short distance flights in Norway:

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180814-norways-plan-for-a-fleet-of-electric-planes
 
  • #58
russ_watters
Mentor
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"Plans" are easy when they don't involve/require plans.
 

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