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M II A II R II K Apr 22, 2021 6:26 PM

Airbus pioneers a superconducting powertrain cooled by liquid hydrogen



- Long-haul aviation, like everything else in the human world, needs to be totally decarbonized, and in the race to zero emissions for international airliners, liquid-hydrogen powertrains look like one of the only viable possibilities. Liquid H2's key drawcard to aircraft designers is its impressive energy density by weight, but Airbus believes there are serious opportunities to be explored in another of its properties: temperature. To keep it liquid, it needs to be stored cryogenically at -253.15 °C (-423.7 °F), and Airbus figures that if you've got a monster cold source like that on board your aircraft, you might as well make use of it. The theory is that the liquid hydrogen can supercool the entire electric powertrain down to superconducting temperatures, at which point resistance virtually disappears from the system, and efficiency skyrockets. A powertrain designed to take full advantage of this effect, reasons Airbus, could get the same job done at less than half the weight, half the electrical losses and reduced voltages.

- So it's building one. The Ascend system will be a ground-based proof of concept developed over the next three years. It'll be a 500-kW (670-hp) powertrain, with cables, controllers, electronics and motors that are cryogenically cooled by liquid hydrogen pumped around in a circuit from the fuel tanks. If the concept works as expected, the result could draw significantly more punch out of Airbus's future liquid hydrogen airliners while radically reducing powertrain weight, and the Ascend initiative could play a key part in getting hydrogen planes up to range parity with conventional airliners – and beyond. It's certainly an interesting spin on hydrogen power we haven't heard about before – and while Airbus's exploration will be specifically around its use in long-haul electric aviation, it does make us wonder if there are any other applications that could benefit from a little superconductivity as well.


mrnyc Apr 26, 2021 4:08 PM

oberlin rolls out first public electric car share program in ohio:

M II A II R II K Apr 26, 2021 8:41 PM

The Best Way to ‘Lure’ People to Public Transit Is to Make It Work



- As transit agencies try and rebound post-pandemic, they must remember people use public transit when it is fast and convenient, not because of cheap gimmicks. --- There is only one tried and true way to get more people to take transit more often, and it is to provide fast, frequent, and reliable service. If they can't do that, nothing else matters.


M II A II R II K Apr 29, 2021 6:22 PM

'Mad Max' superyacht concept powered by airplane jet engines



- Yacht designer Uros Pavasovic has come up with a rather unorthodox way of utilizing discarded aircraft while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of superyacht design. He's devised a 130-meter vessel that's powered by re-purposed jet engines located on its upper shell. Unveiled earlier this month, the Cobra concept, is influenced by military aircraft and looks like something from a futuristic movie. "News of all those discarded airplanes and their perfectly functioning jet engines made me wonder how they could be re-purposed in a 'Mad Max'-inspired, post-pandemic world," explains Pavasovic. --- "Cobra is a 130-meter hybrid yacht with exposed jet engines that are used to efficiently power the generators. Pavasovic says he took inspiration from streamlined fighter jet canopy while designing the vessel. Its structure was conceptualized with the Lockheed SR-7 "Blackbird," which was operated by both the United States Air Force and NASA before being retired in 1999, in mind. The Cobra concept also has an onboard helicopter that has the ability to land on water, ruling out any need for an onboard helipad.


M II A II R II K Apr 30, 2021 4:02 PM

Jetoptera VTOL aircraft design features "bladeless fans on steroids"



- Jetoptera's J-2000 concept is a remarkably different take on the VTOL inter-city aircraft, designed to make use of the company's own unique propulsion system. Much like the bladeless fans popularized by Dyson, there are no spinning blades to be seen on Jetoptera's "fluidic propulsion systems (FPS)." --- As with the Dyson, there are most certainly spinning blades elsewhere in the system. Both devices rely on fluid dynamics to take a relatively small flow of compressed air, and use it to suck a much greater volume of ambient air through at speed. Sir James Dyson does a pretty good job of explaining it here in the context of his fan, which uses a small, quiet impeller to generate pressure around an aerodynamically shaped loop until it exits at high speed through a slit running around the ring.

- The air is forced back over a wing-shaped surface all around the ring, where it develops the same kind of negative pressure that gives aircraft their lift. In this case, though, any lift is canceled out by equal negative pressure zones all around the ring, and the net effect is a low-pressure vortex in the center of the ring that pulls ambient air through at a great rate. --- Add to that the weirdness of fluid entrainment – the vortices that develop where the cylinder of accelerated air leaving the ring interacts with the stationary ambient air around it – and these designs can end up sucking through 15 times the volume of air initially fed through the ring by the compressor. --- According to the company, this kind of system "improves propulsive efficiency by more than 10 percent while lowering fuel consumption by more than 50 percent compared to small turbojets.

- It's also very light and easy to tilt, allowing VTOL lift and hover operations as well as rapid forward cruise flight. And, unlike virtually any other aircraft propulsion system, it doesn't have to be round. These things can take all sorts of shapes, but most interesting are the long, flat ones that follow the shape of the aircraft's wing. Accelerating air back directly over the full width of the wing can develop significant extra lift, and this allows Jetoptera to design box-winged airframes that take up much less space on a vertipad than most transitioning lift/cruise eVTOLs or traditional helicopters. --- They're relatively easy to stow, and the J-2000 renders show an aircraft that can retract its front two thrusters once it reaches high-speed cruise, to reduce drag and ditch additional unnecessary lift.


M II A II R II K May 12, 2021 4:48 PM

Researchers Have Developed A Way To Wirelessly Charge Vehicles On The Road



- One fifth of all EV buyers go back to gas vehicles, mainly because of charging issues.But charging infrastructure and technology keep getting better. According to Business Insider, researchers at Cornell University, led by Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Khurram Afridi, have developed technology that would allow vehicles to be charged on the road while in motion. It would essentially turn U.S. roadways into wireless chargers. --- “Highways would have a charging lane, sort of like a high occupancy lane,” Afridi told Insider. “If you were running out of battery you would move into the charging lane. It would be able to identify which car went into the lane and it would later send you a bill.”


RestonSkylines May 12, 2021 5:29 PM


Originally Posted by M II A II R II K (Post 9277975)
Researchers Have Developed A Way To Wirelessly Charge Vehicles On The Road

Busy Bee May 12, 2021 6:09 PM

I'm so glad someone else thought about this. I've been telling friends and family for years this was a possibility but not being an engineer, can't exactly "invent" it. Hopefully this is possible.

The idea of a convection charging strip embedded into the roadway also sort of redefines the whole conversation around range since onboard battery capacity could in theory be much smaller than what we have been accustomed to think for the last 10 or 15 years. Instead of the need to store the energy in the largest onboard power plant practical, a smaller more energy efficient power plant could be more frequantly charged. This of course would have a much greater impact and larger implications for long distance/ intercity travel.

ssiguy May 12, 2021 8:34 PM

They have had this technology for a few years now with streetcars.

The problem with them is that they don't work in snowy and icy cities and with roadways they are natural wear and tear and hence this can damage the electrical infrastructure. Also when the roads are repaved, will the electric supports have to be redone as well?

Great idea but I don't think it's practical yet.

Busy Bee May 12, 2021 9:23 PM

^True BUT I would think if you are building special lanes for wireless charging it wouldn't be that much more of a stretch that the entire roadway could be built with embedded hydro-radiant heating to prevent snow and ice OR just assume that inclement weather would in fact prevent electrical charging, in which at that point could be performed at a normal charging station. It's Sci Fi but it's not THAT Sci Fi.

OhioGuy May 14, 2021 9:46 PM

Not particularly unique but I came across this electric bus for Missoula, MT, here in the Bay Area while in Union City. Not sure if it was built here and was just out on some road tests before it heads off to Missoula? Regardless, it's nice to see zero emission buses! (of course we have some trolley buses here running on electricity from overhead wires)

M II A II R II K May 18, 2021 6:41 PM

Goodbye street-running South Shore service in Michigan City, hello double-tracking



- Friday, April 30, marked the end of an era for the city of Michigan City, Indiana. For over 100 years, South Shore Line passenger trains traveled, streetcar-like, in the middle of the street through the city center, dropping off passengers in the middle of the road at the 11th Street station. The setup dates back to the line’s origin as an interurban train, something of a tram-commuter train hybrid that treveled on the streets in some areas and on a separate right of way in others. The line used to have several street-running sections, but Michigan City section outlasted all the others.

- On May 1, the station was closed to allow the North Indiana Commuter Transportation District, which runs the South Shore, to ramp up work on turning that section into something that looks more like a commuter railroad, with two tracks on separate rights of way. The stop will get wheelchair-and-bike-friendly high-level platforms and a new station house. The project is part of the larger effort to double-track the single-track sections of the line between Gary and Michigan City, which is expected to shave 30 minutes off travel time and allow the railroad to run more frequent service. Michigan City has been working to redevelop its central Uptown area into an arts district, and faster train service to Chicago has been one of its major priorities.


Busy Bee May 18, 2021 6:51 PM

^I know this one will bring down many a railfan, but operationally it really is for the best.

ardecila May 19, 2021 3:38 PM

I'm torn on this because good riddance to dangerous street running (sorry railfans) and better transit service is always good, but the way they are doing the project is reminiscent of 1960s urban renewal.

Blocks of houses are being torn down to make way for the tracks and (most painfully) a park'n'ride lot. Cross streets are being closed off and traffic patterns shifted. Etc. It will probably leave a scar on the cityscape that residents will have to live with for decades, in a hard-hit Rust Belt town that already has too many scars. An electric train is certainly better for the health of nearby residents than an expressway, but the destruction to the cityscape is the same.

And it all could have been avoided if South Shore had been willing to consider a routing around town using one of the north or south alignments, instead of right through the middle of the grid.

It's not just Michigan City either, the NICTD has gone out of their way to pursue an urban renewal agenda in Hammond and Miller too. I'm not sure why they hate to have homes and businesses around their stations, this is the 21st century for gods sake

electricron May 19, 2021 6:34 PM


Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9285167)
I'm torn on this because good riddance to dangerous street running (sorry railfans) and better transit service is always good, but the way they are doing the project is reminiscent of 1960s urban renewal.
I'm not sure why they hate to have homes and businesses around their stations, this is the 21st century for gods sake

Many answers should be available on the EIS documents. Have you read them?
The 2013 EIS is no longer up on the internet, at least as far as I can find, but the 2017 traffic impact study still is.

Section 2 includes why the preferred alternate was selected.
"Although NICTD and Michigan City shared the same goal of finding a new route, each had different reasons and rationale for supporting the proposed realignment. Michigan City’s priorities were increased economic development opportunities, improved quality of life, and maintenance of access through town while NICTD’s priorities were increased speed of travel, decreased maintenance costs, and increased reliability of service. There were also several shared expectations, including the desire for establishing a modern passenger station, improving overall safety for the community, and enhancing access to and from Chicago. The Central Corridor Alignment was selected as the preferred alternative."

So both the city and the transit agency supported this route selection. Why suggest that was not so?

Additionally I would like to add that this project was not a FTA "New Starts" project, but a "Core Capacity" improvement project as far as Federal funding was concern. A slightly different set of environmental rules and processes.

M II A II R II K May 26, 2021 11:27 PM

Airships for city hops could cut flying’s CO2 emissions by 90%



- Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), which has developed a new environmentally friendly airship 84 years after the Hindenburg disaster, on Wednesday named a string of routes it hoped to serve from 2025. The routes for the 100-passenger Airlander 10 airship include Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca in four and a half hours. The company said the journey by airship would take roughly the same time as aeroplane travel once getting to and from the airport was taken into account, but would generate a much smaller carbon footprint. HAV said the CO2 footprint per passenger on its airship would be about 4.5kg, compared with about 53kg via jet plane. Other routes planned include Liverpool to Belfast, which would take five hours and 20 minutes; Oslo to Stockholm, in six and a half hours; and Seattle to Vancouver in just over four hours.

- HAV, which has in the past attracted funding from Peter Hambro, a founder of Russian gold-miner Petropavlovsk, and Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson, said its aircraft was “ideally suited to inter-city mobility applications like Liverpool to Belfast and Seattle to Vancouver, which Airlander can service with a tiny fraction of the emissions of current air options”. Tom Grundy, HAV’s chief executive, who compares the Airlander to a “fast ferry”, said: “This isn’t a luxury product it’s a practical solution to challenges posed by the climate crisis.” --- He said that 47% of regional aeroplane flights connect cities that are less than 230 miles (370km) apart, and emit a huge about of carbon dioxide doing so. “We’ve got aircraft designed to travel very long distances going very short distances, when there is actually a better solution,” Grundy said. “How much longer will we expect to have the luxury of travelling these short distances with such a big carbon footprint?”


Busy Bee May 26, 2021 11:53 PM

No comment.

llamaorama May 27, 2021 1:44 AM

That blimp is thicc

Busy Bee May 27, 2021 3:00 AM

Anybody see that electric airplane NOVA on PBS?

M II A II R II K May 27, 2021 4:56 PM

What Happens When Cash Fares Are Eliminated?



- The move towards digitizing public transit has been lauded as a way to make cities more resilient. But what about those who get left behind in the rush toward cashless convenience? A study completed late last year asked exactly that question in an effort to examine the issue of automated payment solutions in public transportation through an equity lens. It notes that 15% of adults in the United States don’t have a bank account or credit card. Others have voice-only, data-restricted cell phone plans that don’t offer the same freewheeling internet use to which others are accustomed. Some don’t have access to smartphones at all. This means a sizeable percentage of the population gets left behind when digital fare solutions are prioritized in the name of increased convenience.


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