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Nanotechnology Report

Electric Aircraft 2011-2021

Electric Aircraft 2011-2021
Category: Transport, Energy & Environment Published: Aug 2011 Pages: 209 View Contents
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Electronic copies include a five user licence. Contact andrew.stewart@nano.org.uk for more information.

This is the first and only report to analyse all forms of electric flying vehicle from robot insects to new solar airships, light aircraft and airliners and give timelines to 2021. It covers manned and unmanned aircraft, technology, funding, standards and other aspects for hybrid and pure electric versions across the world. Unusually, we compare what is happening in aviation with progress in land and water based electric vehicles that are in some ways further progressed yet use similar components and powertrains to achieve largely similar objectives.

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Aircraft design will never be the same again after the pressure to save the planet, reduce local noise, air and land pollution, reduce dependency on foreign oil and large areas of land for operations and to modernise industry or see it collapse. Belatedly, leaded fuel is being banned for aviation and considerable financial support is now available for the creation of new types of electric aircraft.

In this report we look at the considerable choices of component, system and structure for pure and hybrid electric aircraft, the huge number of projects and the few commercial successes. We examine what will happen over the next ten years. Unusually, we view all this in the light of what is being achieved in electric vehicles for land and water. What is the best selling electric aeroplane and what is the biggest development contract landed for electric aircraft? Why are microturbine range extenders so interesting and will there be a big retrofit market for electric drives in light aircraft? Where are fuel cells for aircraft headed and which types of traction battery are favoured and why? How do smart skin and multiple energy harvesting fit in? Which are the organisations to watch? It is all here.

This report is essential reading for chief executives, sales and marketing and business planning vice presidents and those in government, finical institution, consultants etc to understand electric aircraft and where they are headed. It has no equations, and covers the basics of battery, motor, supercapacitor, supercabattery, flexible solar cell, fuel cell and other components, so the non technical reader can learn a great deal. However, it progresses to compare such things as hybrid powertrain options for aircraft, preferred batteries to power aircraft, battery cathode, anode and cell geometry, flexible printed photovoltaics chemistries for aviation and who is winning in electric aircraft and why - flight trials, development contracts, launch dates. The trend toward bigger batteries and various types of range extender is explained and the options appraised.

With the next generation of electric aircraft being designed from the ground up rather than shoehorned into existing airframes, we explain what will be possible with printed electronics including new components such as flexible, lightweight solar cells and new airframes and missions. Flying motorcycles, planes that dive to become submarines, huge solar powered radar airships through to retrofitting a Cessna are considered, with funding from a few thousand dollars to 530 million dollars on one project. Throughout, we benchmark best practice with land and water EVs, price premium and pay back elements with many comparison charts and figures.

This is the first and only report to analyse all forms of electric flying vehicle from robot insects to new solar airships, light aircraft and airliners and give timelines to 2021