Zero emissions jet passenger aircraft

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by cosmictraveler, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    VoltAir made a showing at the recent Paris Air Show, on the same stand as the incredible Concorde-of-the-future Zehst space plane, and though it looks much more conventional, it's almost (if not actually more) important for the future of travel. For though Zehst and other craft like it may shrink the globe with super-fast travel, it's aircraft derived from VoltAir that could change the world sooner. Because VoltAir is a zero-emissions airliner for the rest of us — an all-electric alternative to the planes you've always flown in.

    VoltAir's magic is all about its pusher-prop ducted fan, and the electric motors that power it. The prop's design is a twin co-axial contra-rotating design, delivering excellent propelling power very efficiently. But what's truly clever are the engines, which would be made of high-temperature super-conducting materials. The engine would be bathed in liquid nitrogen, to drop its temperature to the right operating zone for the wiring which, unlike the copper wiring in a traditional motor, actually only works if cooled. Though this adds a structural burden to the design, it has one astonishing upshot: Superconducting motors would waste almost none of the electrical energy pushed into them, making the plane ultra-efficient.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43556583/?GT1=43001

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  3. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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    Well except the batteries for this don't exist yet and the technology to make the electric motors doesn't exist yet and since 70+% of our electricity comes from Fossil fuels (mostly Coal) it wouldn't be Zero emissions anyway.
     
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  5. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    I wonder how they think it's any different: bearing in mind that the Zehst is a, wait for it... Zero Emission HyperSonic Transport.

    So one of them is a zero-emission aircraft and the other, completely different and far more significant one, is a zero emission aircraft. :shrug:
     
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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Actually the high temperature superconductors already exist and such motors are being built today. From 2009:

    -American Superconductor Corporation (NASDAQ: AMSC), a leading energy technologies company, and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) announced today at the Surface Navy Association’s 21st National Symposium the successful completion of full-power testing of the world’s first 36.5 megawatt (49,000 horsepower) high temperature superconductor (HTS) ship propulsion motor at the U.S. Navy’s Integrated Power System Land-Based Test Site in Philadelphia. This is the first successful full-power test of an electric propulsion motor sized for a large Navy combatant and, at 36.5 megawatts, doubled the Navy’s power rating test record.
     
  8. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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    These weren't high temp motors, they were cooled by liquid nitrogen.

    Which they point out:

    Arthur
     
  9. Pete It's not rocket surgery Moderator

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    Hi adoucette,
    In this context, liquid nitrogen is high temperature.

    High temperature superconductors are high temperature relative to elemental superconductors, which need to be cooled by liquid helium.
     
  10. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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  11. Pete It's not rocket surgery Moderator

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    No mention of any operating temperature at all.

    Try googling "high temperature superconductor".

    Or look on Wikipedia.

    Or Google up what you can on Amperium, the superconducting wire made by AMSC, for example: Amperium (Maritime Propulsion).

    Or, try this AMSC press release about the power transmission application particular of their high temperature superconductors:
    Liquid nitrogen, the dielectric and coolant of choice to maintain the HTS wire at its operating temperature, is inexpensive, abundant and environmentally safe...

    Actually, this article by AMSC vice president Martin Fischer implies that the mtor in question actually uses liquid Helium for cooling (probably because magnetic fields lower the critical temperature). The article is actually about their SeaTitan generator, but it says that the generator uses the same base platform as their 36.5MW HTS propulsion motor:
    In particular, the cryogenic cooling system must be as robust and reliable as possible so that customers are not involved in additional services or maintenance. The refrigeration system achieves high reliability by employing n+1 modular, single-stage GM coolers and long-life seals in its helium transfer coupling.
    ...
    The winding is then cooled to an operating temperature of 30—40°K or around -235°C.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011
  12. Kel "Not all who wander are lost." Registered Senior Member

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    But think of the headlines... Instead of "hundreds die in fiery explosion as plane crashes." it becomes "hundreds shatter into millions of unidentifiable parts as liquid nitrogen plane crashes" Sorry just a cynical kind of day.
     
  13. kowalskil Registered Member

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    Yes, batteries must be recharged, using electricity.

    Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)
     
  14. kowalskil Registered Member

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    P.S. On the other hand, electric cars in our cities are very desirable. Their use is equivalent to dispersion of CO2, from highly polluted areas to less polluted areas. The effect on global warming is not changed by dispersion.

    Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)
     

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