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Technologies That Will Revolutionize Air Travel  
User currently offlineJoni From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 3181 times:

What do you guys think will be the technologies that will bring aviation into the new century? The obvious challenges are the end of cheap oil, pollution, overcrowding and increased safety requirements as the number of flights increases - otherwise there will be a crash every week. Here are a few ideas:

1) During the past few months there has been quite some commotion about new techniques to mass-produce carbon nanotubes, which are the toughest material known to science. Lacing composites with these can potentially increase their strength tremendously, perhaps allowing the structural weight of airplanes to be reduced by 30-60%.

2) New fuels: my new fuel-favourite these days is biodiesel which can be made e.g. from rapeseed oil. This is actually a carbon-neutral fuel since whereas it does release CO2 to the atmosphere when burned, it binds the same amount of CO2 from the atmosphere when the plants are grown to begin with. It's liquid and resembles petroleum-based fuels currently in use, which facilitates infrastructure modification for its introduction. Engine redesign has to be done, naturally.

Others?

24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineN62NA From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4255 posts, RR: 6
Reply 1, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3129 times:

Quoting Joni (Thread starter):
New fuels: my new fuel-favourite these days is biodiesel

Ultimately, the fuel issue is the key to everything, in my opinion. Doesn't matter how light the airframe is - if fuel oil is $80 or $100 a barrel, it won't matter. Go to the link below and scroll down to the biodiesel section for more info:

http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/SecondPage.html


User currently offlineJoni From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 3076 times:

N62NA,

Thanks for the link, although I found it a bit unnecessarily negative regarding new energy sources.

Regarding biodiesel in particular, you could keep in mind that in industrialized countries, farmers are actually paid not to produce anything to prevent them from flooding the market with unnecessary foodstuffs. They could instead farm the land not used for food production to grow, well, biodiesel (and not use petroleum-derived fertilizer to do this).

Similarly, using a pertodiesel/biodiedel mix of 50/50, hybrid technoogy and light-weight structures we could actually decrease demand for oil used in transportation.


User currently offlineJet-lagged From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 867 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 3062 times:

Most new technologies take a generation to become accepted and adopted. Free flight seems to be a large one looming. Composite commercial airliner airframes another.

User currently offlineRayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 7929 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 3045 times:

However, people forget that thanks to research by a number of petroleum companies we may have finally gotten a way to extract petroleum products from oil shale, oil tar sands and liquifying coal at reasonable cost. That could make available a huge amount of oil available, especially in North America where oil shale, oil tar sands and coal are plentiful.

We're talking maybe 300% of the proven oil reserves in the entire Middle East.  bigthumbsup 


User currently offlineJoni From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2929 times:

Quoting RayChuang (Reply 4):
However, people forget that thanks to research by a number of petroleum companies we may have finally gotten a way to extract petroleum products from oil shale, oil tar sands and liquifying coa

Those are still all fossil fuels that cannot be used in the future. Shale oil production produces about 300% more greenhouse gases than conventional oil production to begin with.

Even using all the remaining conventional oil reserves is out of the question because of the CO2 release.


User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6482 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2875 times:

Quoting Joni (Reply 5):
Those are still all fossil fuels that cannot be used in the future. Shale oil production produces about 300% more greenhouse gases than conventional oil production to begin with.

"Cannot" is not the right way to phrase it. You should, perhaps, use "should not." It's certainly feasible to do it. And if oil shale is included, then the Colorado/Utah area has more petroleum in reserve than the entire middle east.



When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlineAtmx2000 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 4576 posts, RR: 38
Reply 7, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2871 times:

Quoting Joni (Thread starter):
2) New fuels: my new fuel-favourite these days is biodiesel which can be made e.g. from rapeseed oil. This is actually a carbon-neutral fuel since whereas it does release CO2 to the atmosphere when burned, it binds the same amount of CO2 from the atmosphere when the plants are grown to begin with. It's liquid and resembles petroleum-based fuels currently in use, which facilitates infrastructure modification for its introduction. Engine redesign has to be done, naturally.

No agriculturally derived fuel is carbon neutral if it requires any nonbiodiesel energy input. And even if that is the case I wonder if we have enough arable land for biodiesel and food production.



ConcordeBoy is a twin supremacist!! He supports quadicide!!
User currently offlineLightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12420 posts, RR: 100
Reply 8, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2854 times:
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Quoting Joni (Thread starter):
New fuels: my new fuel-favourite these days is biodiesel

Mine too!

Quoting Joni (Reply 5):
Those are still all fossil fuels that cannot be used in the future.

But they will be. Either a natural source is found or the environment will be screwed. Collapsing economies would produce conditions that would make WWII look gentle. (In my opinion... too long of a topic.) Before letting the economy collapse, the US would be pumping shale oil pretty quickly. Look at the rise in world coal consumption! Coal is much worse than shale (due to sulfur and other contaminants being released).

Quoting Atmx2000 (Reply 7):

No agriculturally derived fuel is carbon neutral if it requires any nonbiodiesel energy input. And even if that is the case I wonder if we have enough arable land for biodiesel and food production.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodiesel
5000 to 10,000 gallons/year/acre isn't bad (theoretical using algae). The US could spare enough land to fuel itself. Australia and various world deserts could be converted. Nothing is required to be carbon neutral; if its better than petroleum oil, its an improvement.

Now to technologies that will revolutionize air travel.
1. Geared turbo fans!  bigthumbsup  its a ready technology, there just needs to be a launch platform.
2. Eventually, fuel cells. Gas fuel cells are not practical. Sorry, but I know a thing or two about designing gas tanks for aircraft. Its an expensive and scary way to go. What is required is fuel cells that can work off of biodiesel (or gasified biodiesel that is stored in the wings as a liquid).
3. I agree materials will change everything. If carbon nanotubes work... it will lighten everything. Maybe a polymer (plastic).
4. Advanced air traffic control systems that save time/energy.

I'm not into mathusiasn pessimism. History has shown that before we run out of a resource we learn how to use an alternate (e.g., raw iron ore is in relatively short supply, but we learned to recycle, use plastics/concrete/aluminum/zinc/etc. as replacements)

And damn it, where are the flying cars? I was promised flying cars!  duck 

Lightsaber



I've posted how many times?!?
User currently offlineRayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 7929 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2797 times:

Quoting Joni (Reply 5):
Those are still all fossil fuels that cannot be used in the future. Shale oil production produces about 300% more greenhouse gases than conventional oil production to begin with.

That may be true in the past, but Royal Dutch Shell just announced that by using a new type of water injection into oil shale and oil tar sands they could extract crude oil from these sources without having to actually dig up the oil shale or oil tar sands material. This tremendous breakthrough means we're very close to the technology that could extract crude oil from these sources at reasonable prices, opening up a huge supply of oil for world consumption.  bigthumbsup 


User currently offlineMrocktor From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1668 posts, RR: 50
Reply 10, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2741 times:

Quoting Joni (Reply 2):
Regarding biodiesel in particular, you could keep in mind that in industrialized countries, farmers are actually paid not to produce anything to prevent them from flooding the market with unnecessary foodstuffs. They could instead farm the land not used for food production to grow, well, biodiesel (and not use petroleum-derived fertilizer to do this).

I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Quoting Lightsaber (Reply 8):
I'm not into mathusiasn pessimism. History has shown that before we run out of a resource we learn how to use an alternate (e.g., raw iron ore is in relatively short supply, but we learned to recycle, use plastics/concrete/aluminum/zinc/etc. as replacements)

Precisely.

mrocktor

[Edited 2005-09-15 19:33:00]

User currently offlineEddieDude From Mexico, joined Nov 2003, 7523 posts, RR: 43
Reply 11, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 2652 times:

Last year, the AM inflight magazine featured a short note on the blended winglets of the 737-700's that AM has been acquiring. Such note mentioned, among other things, that Boeing was developing a new fuel saving solution for its future models that consisted of a spiral device attached to the tip of each of the wings of the airplane. While this does not seem so revolutionary as the technologies that have been mentioned here, I believe this is an interesting step. Can anybody familiar with aerodynamics, Boeing or these devices provide more info about the truthfulness of this information, the way these spiral tips work (in laymen terms preferrably), the status of their development process and the fuel savings benefits that can be achieved?

Thanks a lot in advance.



Next flights: MEX-GRU (AM 77E), GRU-GIG (JJ A320), SDU-CGH (G3 73H), GRU-MEX (JJ A332).
User currently offlineBobster2 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 2618 times:

Helium!

Why waste fuel to generate lift when you can get lift for free with helium?


User currently offlineA5XX From Canada, joined Apr 2005, 244 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 2592 times:

As a skydiver, and also an aviation lover, i'm sorry to mention a technology that may be detrimental to the airline industry, in the coming years:

Videoconferencing!

Just this year alone, my company saved in excess of 10 millions, in travel expenses (airline tickets, hotel rooms, meals, taxi, decreased productivity due to travel etc..) since we implemented the videoconference technology. The projected savings for 2006 is 17 millions. We are currently planning to add at least 6 more videoconference rooms. Needless to say, i'm very busy!  crazy 

Increasing fuel costs, will likely strike a big blow to the airline industry, as most companies are trying to save on travel expenses. In the past, we were using small monitors to display the image of our videoconferences. Nowadays, we are using bigger LCD monitors (the people look like they are there), and it feels like the people are in the same room, although they are several thousand miles away)

Yves.

[Edited 2005-09-16 04:03:40]


we are the boeing... resistance is futile...You will be assimilated
User currently offlineAlessandro From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 2540 times:

I think the future aviation fuel will be LNG see www.tupolev.ru not diesel.
Alcohol from sugarcane are used in crop-dusters in Brazil, but that´s all
bio-fueled airplane I know that are certified nowadays.
Also pilot-less planes to save weight could be the future...

[Edited 2005-09-16 05:12:52]

User currently offlineGreasespot From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 3076 posts, RR: 21
Reply 15, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 2521 times:

The di-lithium crystalsr, The warp chamber and warp theory... oh and and the transporter.

GS



Sometimes all you can do is look them in the eye and ask " how much did your mom drink when she was pregnant with you?"
User currently offlineCentrair From Japan, joined Jan 2005, 3598 posts, RR: 21
Reply 16, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 2508 times:

Quoting Greasespot (Reply 15):
The di-lithium crystalsr, The warp chamber and warp theory... oh and and the transporter.

Doh...Beat me to it.

For those who know Doraemon...the Dokodemo Door. Put it up, say where you want to go, open it and you are there.



Yes...I am not a KIX fan. Let's Japanese Aviation!
User currently offlinePaddy78 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 71 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 2470 times:

A big, BIG technology that the IATA has already endorsed is RFID (radio frequency identification). I did a whole business plan for this about a year ago and the potential for the technology in the airline world is absolutly huge.

RFID tags are tiny microchips that you can use to track just about anything because they can store a lot of digital information. I know DL has a pilot program using this to track ground equipment (probably in the crapper by now), but airlines could use it to track everything from vehicles to parts to baggage. Inventory control and lost luggage are huge bleeders of money in any airline; I think DL alone spent over $60 million in lost luggage claims in 2003...imagine what a monster like AA pays.

In addition, the RFID tags are dirt cheap. The acitve ones can cost as much as $20, but the passive ones are getting to the point where they cost less than a penny. Real cheap technology...waaaay cheaper than GPS...and real easy to attach to the price of a ticket without anyone noticing.

Anyway, I couple of buddies and I hatched a plan to sell tracking devices to consumers. These would be active RFID tags that would be about the size of pagers that you would stick in your bag. They would ping signals off recievers and alert you by text message where your bag was at all times. You get off in DFW to make a connection, your bag is in ORD...problem! You get on our 800 line and we touch base with the airlines (kinda like a remote delivery service). there were some legal issues involved in getting the claims from the airlines, but once we contacted them we would assume responsibility of the claim (meaning that they wouldn't have to pay a dime for recovery). You paid a subscription fee per number of usages, and thru the website you could attach a bunch of contact and flight information to your bag without ever having to worry if your name tag came off.

It was a cool idea, and we actually generated a bit of interest among some venture capitalists, but once we dug deeper into it we discovered that the FAA has really tight rules around radio transmissions in airports. I am sure those will change as the RFID frequecies are nowhere near the same used to communicate with airplanes, but it will take a while.

So watch out for this technology, if some company pops up with a solid product, it could be big.



Only amatures need the handles sticking out.
User currently offlineJoni From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 2415 times:

Quoting RayChuang (Reply 9):
hat may be true in the past, but Royal Dutch Shell just announced that by using a new type of water injection into oil shale and oil tar sands they could extract crude oil from these sources without having to actually dig up the oil shale or oil tar sands material. This tremendous breakthrough means we're very close to the technology that could extract crude oil from these sources at reasonable prices, opening up a huge supply of oil for world consumption.

Also coal can be liquified into oil, and that process is economically viable when the oil price is over 35 USD/barrel (coal supplies will still last centuries). The problem here is still the greenhouse gas output when the oil is burned. People don't realize how urgent this issue is - using the remaining conventional oil supplies in the Earth's crust is out of the question for climate change reasons so we don't have to even think of new ways to generate even more fossil fuels. We have to turn to non-fossil fuels.


User currently offlineODwyerPW From Mexico, joined Dec 2004, 793 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (8 years 7 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 2331 times:
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Biodiesel uses more fossil fuel to produce it then it yields. It has a negative return on energy.

Open your eyes folks. We've reached Peak Oil. From here on out oil gets more and more expensive. While there are energy alternatives to oil...there are no Cheap alternatives to oil. While there are new sources for oil, they aren't cheap sources for oil. We've reached the beginning of the end of cheap energy. Many of the things we do on a daily basis that fuel our economy will become cost prohibitive in the future.

This doesn't mean end of humanity as we know it. However, it does mean fundamental changes in our everyday lives...within our generation. It does mean fundamental changes in aviation. Let's just say you'll never hear anyone promoting a near sonic or hypersonic passenger aircraft anytime in the next 100 years.



Quiero una vida simple en Mexico. Nada mas.
User currently offlineHikesWithEyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 816 posts, RR: 7
Reply 20, posted (8 years 7 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 2260 times:

Pilotless aircraft, or systems that will have so much redundancy
that the flight crew can be reduced to 1 person in a monitoring role.
I know that a lot of people will say that the flying public won't feel
comfortable, but I think it will take place eventually.
Pilot costs are the highest labor cost for an airline, and I think it is
inevitable that this will happen one day.



First, benzene in my Perrier, and now this!
User currently offlineJoni From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (8 years 7 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2237 times:

Quoting ODwyerPW (Reply 19):
Biodiesel uses more fossil fuel to produce it then it yields. It has a negative return on energy.

This is apparently not the case, see for example:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodiesel

"...yields 3.2 units of fuel product energy for every unit of fossil fuel energy consumed."


User currently offlinePPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8875 posts, RR: 40
Reply 22, posted (8 years 7 months 5 days ago) and read 2217 times:

Quoting ODwyerPW (Reply 19):


Biodiesel uses more fossil fuel to produce it then it yields. It has a negative return on energy.

Mixing Ethanol In Aviation Fuel? (by PPVRA Sep 15 2005 in Tech Ops)

Cheers



"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
User currently offlineAeroWeanie From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1606 posts, RR: 52
Reply 23, posted (8 years 7 months 5 days ago) and read 2198 times:
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Quoting EddieDude (Reply 11):
Last year, the AM inflight magazine featured a short note on the blended winglets of the 737-700's that AM has been acquiring. Such note mentioned, among other things, that Boeing was developing a new fuel saving solution for its future models that consisted of a spiral device attached to the tip of each of the wings of the airplane.

Interesting that Boeing should claim credit for spiroids. API test flew and patented them years ago.



User currently offlineDougloid From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (8 years 7 months 5 days ago) and read 2175 times:

Quoting Joni (Thread starter):
What do you guys think will be the technologies that will bring aviation into the new century? The obvious challenges are the end of cheap oil, pollution, overcrowding and increased safety requirements as the number of flights increases - otherwise there will be a crash every week. Here are a few ideas:

Youse guys got it all wrong. Lemme tell you a story.

there was an old farmer who had a horse. He got tired of feeding the horse and oats were getting awfully expensive. So he figured that the key to the problem was to train the horse to work without eating.

The horse was just about used to the idea when he died.

The point is, untill you can create a mechanic, ramp rat, ticket counter noodge or flight attendant who can survive without eating, no technical progress is attainable. We seem to be in the first half of the story right now.


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