Dutch national carrier KLM and the Technical University Delft are to develop a pilot into designing a radical new V-shaped aircraft. According to the engineers involved a reduction in fuel consumption of 20% per passenger should be feasible as compared to the Airbus A350, the most modern airplane in the world today. Key are better aerodynamics and less weight. Development is expected to take at least 20 years. A first scaled prototype is expected for October 2019. Earlier Schiphol Amsterdam Airport made the headlines by announcing to develop synthetic fuel for airplanes “out of thin air”.
[cnn.com] – KLM to fund development of fuel-efficient Flying-V plane
[rtlz.nl] – KLM en TU Delft bouwen opvallend vliegtuig in v-vorm
[businessinsider.nl] – KLM en TU Delft gaan de Flying-V ontwerpen
[ad.nl] – KLM en TU Delft werken aan V-vormig vliegtuig
[deingenieur.nl] – KLM Steekt Geld in “Vliegende V” uit Delft
[deepresource] – Amsterdam Airport Carbon-Neutral?
We’re in the mood for a back-of-an-envelope calculation. Let’s calculate how much offshore wind energy is required if a country like the Netherlands would phase out private car ownership and replace that old mobility model with a new one, namely electric ride sharing, as is being experimented with now in Hamburg.
According to the Dutch government bean counting institute CBS (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek), in 2016 all ca. 8 million Dutch cars drove 118.5 billion km or 13,200 km per car. The average occupation rate is ca. 1,25. So the total amount of passenger-km is 118.5 billion x 1.25 = 148 billion km.
The Volkswagen Moia has a battery of 87 kWh and a range of 300 km. Let’s assume an average occupation rate of 5 passengers for the 7 available seats. That’s 0.29 kWh/km/vehicle or 0.058 kWh/km/passenger.
Now back to the Dutch figures. 148 billion passenger km, driven in Volkswagen Moia’s, with an average occupancy rate of 5 would amount to 148 billion x 0.058 kWh = 8584 GWh/year. The annual output of the currently largest Dutch offshore windpark Gemini is ca. 2600 GWh/year. In other words, the Netherlands would need merely 3.3 of those wind parks to enable the current level of private mobility. Much larger windparks than Gemini are in pipeline, like the 1400 MW Borssele I-V, scheduled for completion in 2021. Together, Gemini and Borssele would suffice.
Obviously more capacity needs to be calculated to compensate for storage losses. But the message is clear: it is very well possible to remain mobile in a climate-friendly fashion after the end of the fossil fuel age.
[cities-today.com] – Hamburg trials Europe’s largest electric ride-sharing service
[cbs.nl] – Forse groei autokilometers
[electrive.net] – Volkswagen-Ridesharing: Moin, MOIA!
[wikipedia.org] – Gemini Wind Farm
The Amsterdam Airport CEO knows that the current business model of flying planes on conventional fuel has no future in the light of the renewable energy policy of the European Union, that says that fossil fuels need to be phased out by 2050, thirty years from now. Enter synthetic kerosene, produced with the ingredients: CO2, water and renewable electricity. A German company has been asked to build an installation with which 1,000 liter of synthetic kerosene can be produced per day, as a pilot project. Radically new is that the CO2 is sourced from the air, not from industrial processes. As a first step, water and CO2 are converted into hydrogen and CO with renewable electricity. From this mixture, synthetic kerosene can be produced.
Independently, the construction of a plant in Delfzijl, in the Groningen province is planned, that will produce annually 75.000 tot 100.000 ton bio-kerosene, also for aviation purposes. Investment volume 250 million euro. For the moment bio-kerosene costs 2-3 times as much as conventional kerosene. Nothing that can’t be solved with higher air fares.
As an additional benefit, the production of renewable kerosene provides an excellent storage opportunity for renewable electricity.
[trouw.nl] – Schiphol en Rotterdam Airport gaan inzetten op synthetische kerosine
[bvm2.nl] – Synthetische kerosine als brandstof voor de luchtvaart (pdf, 58p)
[dvhn.nl] – Eerste Europese Raffinaderij voor Biokerosine in Delfzijl
[dvhn.nl] – Biokerosine: veel schoner, maar ook veel duurder dan gewone kerosine
[topsectorenergie.nl] – Take-off synthetic kerosene production in the Netherlands
[nrc.nl] – Synthetische kerosine is de enige oplossing
[bjmgerard.nl] – Tag: synthetische kerosine
Seven year old Siemens video
It already works for trains and trolleybuses, so why not for trucks as well? Trucks powered by overhead-wires. A test stretch has been build near Frankfurt, on the A5-motorway between Langen and Weiterstadt.
Sweden apparently has an eHighway as well.
[scania.com] – World’s first electric road opens in Sweden
Currently the batteries seem to win the race for powering the e-vehicle, despite the facts that the majority of automotive brains say that they prefer hydrogen.
However, there is potentially a third competitor looming at the horizon: super-capacitors. The storage of electricity in Coulomb, rather than chemical form. Charging proceeds in seconds, rather than hours. No need for batteries of 400 kg. They have no degradation and go on and on. The only disadvantage: leaking. A full charge will largely disappear after a month. Driving a car with a charged super-capacitor is like consuming an ice-cream on a sunny day: you gotta lick it immediately.
Nothing is decided yet, though. Breakthrough new materials are required to live up to the theoretical promise. Candidate material: graphene.
[sciencedirect.com] – Supercapacitors: A new source of power for electric cars?
[theguardian.com] – Energy storage leap could slash electric car charging times
[bbc.com] – Fancy charging up your electric car in 10 minutes?
[gigaom.com] – In 2011 Elon Musk bets on capacitors rather than batteries
[wikipedia.org] – Supercapacitor
[wikipedia.org] – Graphene
[wikipedia.org] – Coulomb
[iflscience.com] – Graphene-Based Supercapacitors Could Lead To Battery-Free Electric Cars Within 5 Years
[interestingengineering.com] – Could Ultracapacitors Replace Batteries In Future Electric Vehicles?
[newscientist.com] – Cars that run on supercapacitors could be charged in minutes
[wired.co.uk] – A fluke breakthrough could be the missing link for an electric car age
Take your smart phone, start the MOIA app, enter 1 out of 10,000 predefined destinations and press submit. And wait until the MOIA e-van arrives, something in between a bus and a taxi. Price? Think 4.20 euro for 3 km. Price is known in advance, before you commit. Payment via app. Slight detours in order to pick up co-passengers are possible.
At some point in the future, the driver will be phased out, or so is the plan.
[audi-mediacenter.com] – Audi AI:ME (2019)
[motor1.com] – Audi AI:me Concept Teased Ahead Of Shanghai Debut
[topgear.nl] – Audi AI:ME is extra groen en zelfrijdend
[autospectrum.nl] – Audi presenteert eerste zelfrijdende stadsauto, de AI:ME
VW starts level-4 autonomous driving tests in Hamburg with 5 VW-Golf, driver-supervisor included, on a pre-selected 3 km route.
[zerauto.nl] – DEZE VOLKSWAGEN E-GOLFS RIJDEN ZELFSTANDIG
According to Tesla-CEO Elon Musk, all Tesla’s shipped are in principle capable of autonomous driving.
[wired.com] – TESLA’S NEW CHIP HOLDS THE KEY TO ‘FULL SELF-DRIVING’
Musk: “autonomous driving is possible in 2020”.
[zerauto.nl] – ZORGT ‘FULL SELF-DRIVING COMPUTER’ VOOR DOORBRAAK BIJ TESLA?
It is possible to drive a train on air pressure. The principle dates from the 19th century and was in fact in operation in Britain and elsewhere. Today working examples run in Brasil and Indonesia under the name Aeromovel. It should be noted that air pressure or vacuum can be produced efficiently with wind turbines.
owards the end of the twentieth century the Aeromovel Corporation of Brazil developed an automated people mover that is atmospherically powered. Lightweight trains ride on rails mounted on an elevated hollow concrete box girder that forms the air duct. Each car is attached to a square plate—the piston—within the duct, connected by a mast running through a longitudinal slot that is sealed with rubber flaps. Stationary electric air pumps are located along the line to either blow air into the duct to create positive pressure or to exhaust air from the duct to create a partial vacuum. The pressure differential acting on the piston plate causes the vehicle to move.
[wikipedia.org] – Atmospheric Railway
This is the surprisingly outspoken result of a global survey among top automotive executives, as reported by KPMG. The key reason why large scale application of car batteries will fail is because of infrastructure constraints.
[assets.kpmg] – KPMG Global Automotive Executive Survey 2017
Tomorrow, a new service will start that can be seen as a prelude towards a national car robot, aka public autonomous driving, cashing in on the new possibilities of location aware mobile smart phones. In Hamburg, Volkswagen will start a fleet of initially 100 MOIA’s (see video), with drivers included, that will be able to pick up people from 10,000 unmarked designated stops, distributed over 200 km2, delivering transport-on-demand for a price of 1 euro/km. The vans have a range of 300 km on a charge of 87 kWh, sufficient for a shift. The fleet is to be expanded to 1,000 e-vans eventually. In Hannover, a similar test on a smaller scale is already underway. The current competing regular bus-service operates with 1327 stops.
A Spanish company called Zero2Infinity prepares to revolutionize the way satellites can be brought into orbit, in a very low-cost and environmentally friendly way: rocket + balloon = rockoon.
Bloostar is a launch vehicle currently in development, intended to compete in the small satellite launch market. It is based on the rockoon concept: the first stage of the ascent is conducted by the use of a high-altitude balloon up to 30 km (19 mi), where the rocket platform is ignited and detached from the balloon to insert the payload into orbit. The design is intended to be capable of delivering a 140 kg payload to a 200-km low Earth orbit, or a 75 kg payload to a 600-km sun-synchronous orbit
In a thinly veiled swipe against Jeff Bezos, the Spanish assert:
From the public to the gurus of aerospace, most people still think that Space will remain the realm of a few superpowers, large defense contractors and the odd billionaire…
It could get very crowded up in the skies.
[zero2infinity] – Company site
[wikipedia.org] – Zero 2 Infinity
[twitter.com] – Bloostar
[vimeo.com] – Bloostar, the New Space revolution
[zero2infinity] – Bloostar, the physics
[space.com] – Zero 2 Infinity Gets 3D-Printed Engine Part for Bloostar Launch Vehicle
[spacenews.com] – Zero 2 Infinity conducts first flight test of Bloostar balloon-assisted launcher
First test March 2017
Airbus and Boeing killer? The idea behind hyperloop: transport against low energy cost due to movement within a near vacuum environment.
First 30 meters are meanwhile reality.
Dutch politics warming up for first European hyperloop The Hague-Duesseldorf:
[wikipedia.org] – Hyperloop
Robert McConaghy created the first flying stirling engine powered aircraft in August 1986. The Beta type engine weighed 360 grams, and produced only 20 Watts of power. The engine was attached to the front of a modified Super Malibu radio control glider with a gross takeoff weight of 1 kg. The best published test flight lasted 6 minutes and exhibited “barely enough power to make the occasional gentle turn and maintain altitude”
The main argument against using a Stirling engine in an aircraft was its weight. But with the rise of new strong and lightweight materials, conditions could change.
[wikipedia.org] – Airbus (formerly EADS)
[wikipedia.org] – Stirling Engine
[freepatentsonline.com] – Stirling Engine for an Emission-free Aircraft (EADS, 2016)
[patents.google.com] – Stirling engine with flapping wing for an emission-free aircraft (EADS, 2011)
[uspto.gov] – Solar thermal aircraft (2004, Lawrence Livermore)
[banggood.com] – Aircraft Hot Air Power Generator Innovative Stirling Engine