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 ")

Elon Musk's Traffic Tunnel Challenge Is Boring
'The car vibrated... threading the maze of local tubes.' - Jack Vance, 1954.

HVSD, Kitty Hawk's Electric Plane
Very quiet commuter plane offers VTOL service.

Skai Air Taxi Costs The Same As Uber
'The air-taxi found its way past and around other ground-cars...' Isaac Asimov, 1988.

Asimov and Musk - Boring Company Tunnel vs. Street Race
'There was almost no sound, just a steady velvety whirr as the taxi sped along.' - Isaac Asimov

 

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

Via Virtual Reality, Mother Encounters Deceased Daughter
'But that barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...'

Clothes That Do Photosyntheisis
'Clothes are no longer made from dead fibers of fixed color and texture...'

Stratuscent Electronic Nose
'It's picking up diphenyl compounds and tetra hydrocarbons.'

CIMON Companion Robot For Space Station Astronauts
'... in some departments their power is absolute.'

Qbit Robot Bartender Also Makes Coffee
'...he sipped the cognac that the robot bartender handed him.'

Moving Desks Not SciFi After All
'Charged with hope, he zipped from stack to stack...'

Cruise Autonomous Car Drives Aimlessly For An Hour
Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).

Fast Charging A Bus In 20 Seconds
'... in almost every town and village.'

Realistic Translation With The Waverly Labs Ambassador
'The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.'

Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.'

Out-Of-Work Blue Collar Robots Need Your Help
'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...'

The Dawn Of Orbiting Manufacturing In 2020?
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories.'

Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.'

Segway S-Pod Fulfills Dire 1928 SciFi Prophecy
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'

Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'

Airbnb Has AI Psychiatrist Looking At Your Facebook
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test.'

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.