Condorman
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:19 am

How far away are transatlantic flights with electric powered planes?

Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:08 am

As electric and hybrid cars become more commonplace will we see something similar in the aviation industry.

I found this article interesting. Currently battey tech has 1/43 if the energy density of jet fuel. So there needs to be significant improvement there.


http://www.iflscience.com/technology/el ... -thinking/

Also what type of engines will these electric planes have? Propeller?

Would 2050 be a realistic date for this to occur.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: How far away are transatlantic flights with electric powered planes?

Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:10 am

Very very far away. You explained it with the energy density of batteries compared to dead dinosaurs. It's even worse than that though. With fuel use on a dinosaur powered aircraft, weight decreases, meaning lower consumption. Not so with batteries.

Engines are the easy bit. We already have those. Electric motors for drive are very efficient. Connect to an unducted propeller for lower speeds or a ducted propeller ("fan") for higher speeds.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
stratclub
Posts: 232
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Re: How far away are transatlantic flights with electric powered planes?

Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:38 am

With the 1 in 43 weight penalty, doing it with current battery technology is not doable. If inexpensive, clean, safe and dependable small nuclear reactors were developed, It would probably be very doable. Maybe someone will figure out that Tesla wasn't so crazy after all and invent an efficient way to produce and broadcast energy/electricity economically without wires.

I think until a technology comes along that can store electricity without a major storage/weight penalty, I don't see it happening any time soon or even within 30 years. Jerry Brown would like to see a major increase in electric vehicles in California but the problem with his plan is that it would put a major drain on California's power grid, like in rolling brown out or worse.
 
Condorman
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Re: How far away are transatlantic flights with electric powered planes?

Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:55 am

So unless someone develops a disruptive storage or energy production technology it seems that linear progress of current battery tech will mean that it would probably be 50 years away from today.

Well I would have loved to travel on an all electric transatlantic flight within my lifetime. Ahh well I might as well book my ticket to Mars instead!
 
stratclub
Posts: 232
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Re: How far away are transatlantic flights with electric powered planes?

Sun Mar 04, 2018 10:57 am

I did some some Internet math and a Tesla model S has a 100 KWh battery that's good for about 325 miles. In BTU's that's about the same amount of energy as 3 gallons of gasoline or 345,000 BTU's. So on the same amount of energy, The Tesla goes about 3 times as far as a gasoline powered car.

The Down Side:
    Gasoline for ten gallons @32 MPG weights about 65 pounds. (325 miles)
    A 100 KWh battery weights about 1,300 pounds. (325 miles)
So being generous, the weight penalty for a 100% battery powered car = 1,000 pounds would mean that 1,000 cars would be 1,000,000 pounds of dead weight that energy would be used to transport.

As a comparison a B747-8 at MTOW is 987,000 pounds except a B747-8 would burn fuel down to a MAX ZFW of 727,000 pound (fumes?) by the time it reaches it's destination were as a battery powered car would weight the same at any point in it's journey. I think I finally figured out why I dispise battery powered cars so much.

Hope that all makes sense.................
 
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AirlineCritic
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Re: How far away are transatlantic flights with electric powered planes?

Sun Mar 04, 2018 11:10 am

How far?

About 5500 kilometers...

(ducks)
 
OldAeroGuy
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Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2004 6:50 am

Re: How far away are transatlantic flights with electric powered planes?

Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:47 pm

It's already been done, but there is the question of how much payload you want to carry and how long you want the trip to take.

Solar Impulse 2 flew from NYC to Seville in 71 hours with a payload of one pilot.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_Impulse

Use of solar cells offsets the need to carry enough battery power for the whole flight but constrains the weather situations you can fly in.

All-in-all, not ready for prime time.
Airplane design is easy, the difficulty is getting them to fly - Barnes Wallis
 
CCGPV
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Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:18 pm

Re: How far away are transatlantic flights with electric powered planes?

Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:47 pm

Commercial planes? Half a century at least.
Stay curious
 
JustSomeDood
Posts: 286
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Re: How far away are transatlantic flights with electric powered planes?

Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:08 am

Besides energy density, lithium based battery tech is also rather unsafe, able to thermal runaway in even oxygen-starved environments, there's a good reason battery size restrictions exist in the cargo holds of aircraft. I shudder to think of the fire suppression systems that is needed to contain literally tons of battery cells to aviation safety standards...
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: How far away are transatlantic flights with electric powered planes?

Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:53 pm

The very idea there will be a date certain in the future presupposes a breakthrough that may not be possible. It’s not inevitable. A hundred years from now, we might be converted to electrics on ground transportation and still use petroleum for flight.

GF
 
gloom
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Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:24 pm

Re: How far away are transatlantic flights with electric powered planes?

Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:50 pm

It's not possible, and possibly never possible with the batteries.

However, propellant-oxydizer combo would probably work (see Toyota Mirai). However, if you're off with hydrogen-based fuel, why use it in fuel cell-electric powerplant if you can use it directly in much simpler turbine-jet engine?
There are some issues, but nothing that could not be overcome. And hydrogen can (quite easily) be produced off-peak from standard electric power.

However, I don't see it coming next 20 years or so. More and more ground installations are coming off the fossil fuel, and I expect no direct pressure to change on plane market. We'll see if I'm right about this :)

Cheers,
Adam
 
RCnoob
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Re: How far away are transatlantic flights with electric powered planes?

Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:43 pm

There is an economic drawback that corresponds to the technical drawbacks of batteries for long flights. An electric design for very short auto rides can potentially have a total power train weight that is comparable or lighter than a combustion power train. (I have not done any detailed calculations, but there are a variety of auxiliary systems that are reduced or eliminated with electric motors.) And probably a lot cheaper. But as the range increases, this advantage falls.
So electric aircraft will first be used in applications that have lots of short legs. Then medium routes.
Crossover occurred years ago for RC aircraft, after all. Only long duration RC aircraft (fixed wing drones) use fuel.
 
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767333ER
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Re: How far away are transatlantic flights with electric powered planes?

Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:16 am

Starlionblue wrote:
Very very far away. You explained it with the energy density of batteries compared to dead dinosaurs. It's even worse than that though. With fuel use on a dinosaur powered aircraft, weight decreases, meaning lower consumption. Not so with batteries.

Engines are the easy bit. We already have those. Electric motors for drive are very efficient. Connect to an unducted propeller for lower speeds or a ducted propeller ("fan") for higher speeds.

:checkmark: :checkmark: :checkmark:
I said exactly this once, particularly what you said in the first paragraph and got shot down for it.
Been on: 732 733 734 73G 738 752 763 A319 A320 A321 CRJ CR7 CRA/CR9 E145 E175 E190 F28 MD-82 MD-83 C172R C172S P2006T
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: How far away are transatlantic flights with electric powered planes?

Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:29 am

767333ER wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
Very very far away. You explained it with the energy density of batteries compared to dead dinosaurs. It's even worse than that though. With fuel use on a dinosaur powered aircraft, weight decreases, meaning lower consumption. Not so with batteries.

Engines are the easy bit. We already have those. Electric motors for drive are very efficient. Connect to an unducted propeller for lower speeds or a ducted propeller ("fan") for higher speeds.

:checkmark: :checkmark: :checkmark:
I said exactly this once, particularly what you said in the first paragraph and got shot down for it.


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"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo

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