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Why aren’t there battery powered airplanes or flying cars?

Why aren’t there battery powered airplanes or flying cars? thumbnail

Preface.  Batteries are too heavy for airplanes to get off the ground. These two articles explain that in further detail.

Alice Friedemann   www.energyskeptic.com  author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: Derrick Jensen, Practical Prepping, KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity , XX2 report

***

Viswanathan, V., et al. 2018. Why Aren’t There Electric Airplanes Yet? It Comes Down to Batteries. Batteries need to get lighter and more efficient before we use them to power energy-guzzling airplanes. Smithsonian.

“…for a given weight, jet fuel contains about 14 times more usable energy than a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery….the best batteries store about 40 times less energy per unit of weight than jet fuel.  That makes batteries relatively heavy for aviation. Airline companies are already worried about weight – imposing fees on luggage in part to limit how much planes have to carry.”

So what about a flying car (e-VTOL)?  

We looked at how much energy a small battery-powered aircraft of 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms, including a passenger) capable of vertical takeoff and landing would need.  While actually flying, the air vehicle would need 400 to 500 watt-hours per mile, about what an electric pickup truck would need, which is twice as much energy used as an electric car.

But taking off and landing require a lot more power, at least 8,000 to 10,000 watt-hours per trip, or half the energy in a compact electric car such as the Nissan Leaf.

So for an entire flight of 20 miles you’d need 800 to 900 watt-hours per mile  — half as much energy as a fully loaded semi-truck.  Using that much energy means these aren’t likely to take off.

“Aircraft designers also need to closely examine the power – or how quickly the stored energy is available. This is important because ramping up to take off in a jet or pushing down against gravity in a helicopter takes much more power than turning the wheels of a car or truck.

Therefore, e-VTOL batteries must be able to discharge at rates roughly 10 times faster than the batteries in electric road vehicles. When batteries discharge more quickly, they get a lot hotter.  Road vehicles’ batteries don’t heat up nearly as much while driving, so they can be cooled by the air passing by or with simple coolants. But an e-VTOL would generate an enormous amount of heat on takeoff that would take a long time to cool – and on short trips might not even fully cool down before heating up again on landing.

This huge amount of heat will shorten an e-VTOL batteries’ life, make them more likely to catch fire, and require specialized cooling systems that add additional weight and energy demands on the battery.

Schrope, M. 6 Nov 2010. Fly Electric. New Scientist.

A 200-seat airplane weighs about 115 tons at take off.

About a third, or 38 tons of that weight is the kerosene fuel.

The other 77 tons are the passengers, their luggage, and the airplane itself.

An electric, battery-powered airplane would require nearly 3,000 tons of lithium-ion batteries – the batteries would weigh 39 times more than the plane, passengers, and their luggage.

Nor would fuel cells do much better.

energyskeptic.com



115 Comments on "Why aren’t there battery powered airplanes or flying cars?"

  1. Davy on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 4:19 am 

    “Another Day, Another Low-tech Website”
    https://tinyurl.com/y4h8y5ht NO TECH MAGAZINE

    “If we take stock: I reduced the weight of my site by 10, the average weight of a page by more than 3 and I reduced the weight of my videos on third-party services by 4. I have a site extremely simple to administrate, very light so very fast, which consumes very little electricity and therefore emits little GHG. The site also follows all the canons of today’s digital design: mobile-first, accessibility, loading speed. In fact it is quite surprising to realize that structural limitations (weight / energy) lead to navigation experiences much more accessible to all audiences regardless of their equipment, their connection or their imperative motricity or vision.”

  2. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 4:22 am 

    House passes 4 bills targeting Russia, Putin’s wealth

    https://apnews.com/cabfd611bafa4bd781d951da213202b3

  3. Davy on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 4:29 am 

    “Research shows virtual reservoirs can boost flexibility of small hydropower facilities”
    https://tinyurl.com/y35eevvf renewable energy world

    “New research shows that small run-of-river (ROR) hydropower projects can provide just as much baseload stability as reservoir-based hydropower plants while being highly responsive to real-time grid and market changes. This means that as the U.S. seeks to expand renewable energy sources without compromising reliability, one option is more flexible (and profitable) hydropower that doesn’t involve dams. Idaho National Laboratory is leading a research effort evaluating the ability of ROR hydropower to provide grid balancing through integration with an energy storage system. Hydropower plants produced roughly 7% of the electricity in the U.S. in 2017 — about 40% of the nation’s renewable energy. Roughly two-thirds of those 303,000 GW came from dams with reservoirs behind them. The last 29% however, came from ROR projects.”

    “Storage options include: Batteries, which can provide longer duration energy than other options. Flywheels, which involve heavy shaft-mounted rotating discs that speed up when electrical energy is applied to them. When energy is needed, a flywheel is slowed and the kinetic energy is converted back to electrical energy. Supercapacitors, which are best at providing a charge in response to short-term power gaps lasting from a few seconds to a few minutes. They can be recharged quickly.”

  4. Cloggie on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 5:04 am 

    “House passes 4 bills targeting Russia, Putin’s wealth”

    Eurasia should prepare for the inevitable WW3 and take out the monster USA-Israel. The war booty is immense and we have a WW2 bill to settle.

    What is required is virile hardness and the knowledge that the US can’t take casualties.

  5. Davy on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 5:31 am 

    “What is required is virile hardness and the knowledge that the US can’t take casualties.”

    AH, the only country taking significant casualties in the last few years is the US. Not bragging just pointing out how fraudulent your thinking is.

  6. makati1 on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 5:45 am 

    Davy? Casualties? Do you mean veteran suicide, Drug overdose deaths and Murders?

    You certainly don’t mean “war” casualties”. There have been about 15,000 “war” casualties since 2000. That is less than a half year’s auto deaths in the US.

    https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL32492.pdf

    “20 Veterans a Day Commit Suicide.” In 18 years, that is about 130,000 people since 2000 or 8 times the “war” casualties.

    https://activeheroes.org/veteran-suicide-statistics/

    Get the facts Davy, not the bullshit. The US cannot take actual war numbers.

  7. Cloggie on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 5:52 am 

    “AH, the only country taking significant casualties in the last few years is the US. Not bragging just pointing out how fraudulent your thinking is.”

    You don’t know, because Europe hasn’tt waged war lately, but that is about to change. Europeans have historically shown they can take millions of casualties and still fight on where Americans cry for mum at 40,000 dead.

    As a little token, a tiny country like Norway can beat the US at the winter olympics. Half of your army are demoralized bmi30 hillbillies from Missouri and the other half negroes.lol

    You have been thrown out of Vietnam and Iraq and soon Afghanistan. You are a walkover.

  8. Davy on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 6:02 am 

    “You don’t know, because Europe hasn’tt waged war lately, but that is about to change.”

    Europe is the one that can’t take casualties. They have been made weak and lazy by prosperity. No chance they will have what it takes to wage war. BTW, is waging war something to be proud of? WAR PIG

  9. Not Davy on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 6:04 am 

    juanp

    Davy on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 6:02 am

  10. Davy on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 6:05 am 

    “Davy? Casualties? Do you mean veteran suicide, Drug overdose deaths and Murders?”

    makato, look at what clogg said and verify its legitimacy. You can’t can you? All you can do is add your hate and resentment to the objectivity of my fact checking. Both you old men are frauds.

  11. JuanP on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 6:07 am 

    Not Davy on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 6:04 am

    juanp

    Davy on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 6:02 am

  12. Davy on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 6:07 am 

    Sorry guys, I was projecting again.

  13. not Davy on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 6:25 am 

    juanp

    Davy on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 6:07 am

  14. Davy on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 6:39 am 

    As much as I enjoy our debates, I gotta go guys. If I don’t get some work done for a change the wife is gonna kill me. Y’all know what women are like.

  15. Not Davy on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 6:44 am 

    juanp

    Davy on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 6:39 am

  16. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 8:16 am 

    CLogg

    There is no eurasia you deluded old geezer..And NATO has triple the troops, planes, and tanks that Russia does..

    Its just a matter of time before Putin is blamed for a false flag..

    And then its lights out for Moscow!

    Don’t make us George Bush this button over nothing..

  17. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 9:27 am 

    The Republican Party is the official Israel party now..

  18. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 11:07 am 

    Fear builds walls

  19. Robert Inget on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 11:59 am 

    Batteries are, rat now, losing weight and size.
    Small electric planes are already a reality.
    While it may be arguable if batteries can lose weight, that’s not the case for jet fuel.
    Pick up 5 gallons of diesel. Now, do the same for gasoline.

    Fossil fuel lovers shouldn’t worry, natural gas will have a huge roll to play for decades.

    https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS730US737&q=images+electric+aircraft&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwijxO_TjILhAhUtJTQIHTFGBosQsAR6BAgCEAE&biw=1280&bih=688

  20. Duncan Idaho on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 12:19 pm 

    “Batteries are, rat now, losing weight and size.”
    But we haven’t got beyond lithium ion, first commercialized by the Japanese in the early 1990’s.
    It has been a while—–

  21. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 12:57 pm 

    Robert

    Those are some really large planes you showed us..

    Jesus christ the people on this blog are just dumber as time goes on..

    And if we switch to electric planes we would just have the same problem we did with oil, just with different materials this time.

  22. Cloggie on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 3:14 pm 

    Damn there goes my techie utopia I’ve been preaching here for so long.

  23. Cloggie on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 4:27 pm 

    The F35 is a new highway in the Netherlands (60 km).

    A bicycle highway to be precise (“fietssnelweg”):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bquchW2ZJg4

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

    It is not the only one; map of nation-wide realizations and ambitions:

    https://www.fietssnelwegen.nl/index.php?m=2

    Many people now have e-bikes, with which it is much easier to bridge longer distances. 25 km per day is no longer an issue with speeds up to 45 kmh, certainly not in Holland, a country as flat as a pancake:

    https://deepresource.wordpress.com/?s=limburg#jp-carousel-68514

    In the north (Groningen-Drenthe):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqryxYGD90k

    Utrecht:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Z_r0vaPxOE

    https://www.trouw.nl/democratie/de-utrechtse-fietssnelwegen-een-project-van-de-lange-adem~a70bdcd3/

    Arnhem-Nijmegen:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFAOf-mXx-A

    The goal is: priority for “business traffic” (commuting), enabling relatively high speeds, no interruptions like road-crossings or traffic lights, like a real highway. An important motivation is the battle against ever longer traffic congestion.

  24. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 4:53 pm 

    Our hero karl marx died on this day 135 years ago. Rest well marx you deserve it

    https://i.redd.it/qpqmxb1wu3m21.png

  25. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 4:55 pm 

    Jesus clogg

    Nobody even cares what you post and you post like a dozen links..Notice that nobody ever compliments you? You are just arguing with your self because you are a crazy person..

    Time to put you in a home gramps..

  26. Cloggie on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 4:56 pm 

    Our hero karl marx died on this day 135 years ago. Rest well marx you deserve it

    He absolutely deserved to die. Marx is the largest disaster in world history. In short mobster: he is exactly your (((kinda guy)))

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

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4kAUjSXeco

  27. slowermindskeepRight-akafmr-paultard on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 5:45 pm 

    (((supertard))) alice is making fun of nedertard by using some number crunching

  28. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 5:46 pm 

    He’s the new Kennedy!

    https://i.imgur.com/VG1QpCf.jpg

  29. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 5:51 pm 

    Stephen hawking died March 14, karl marx died March 14, Einstein was born March 14.

  30. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 5:53 pm 

    He’s the new Kennedy!

    https://i.imgur.com/VG1QpCf.jpg

  31. supertarddavythelibtard-aka-fmr-paultard on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 5:58 pm 

    hawking was just a tard, set up to promote white supremacy. a tard like hawking was confined to 4 walls and yet claim to travel to the furthest reaches of the uni. while claiming time is a fundamental quantity of nature. that’s strange, when was an experiment set up to detect the time particle?

    in order to spruce up support for white supremacy, his funeral includes an offering for a time traveler. didn’t make this up.

  32. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 6:09 pm 

    Decades after the end of the cold war, Russia is showing new aggression

    https://www.economist.com/special-report/2019/03/14/decades-after-the-end-of-the-cold-war-russia-is-showing-new-aggression

    Rothschild Economist coming through with the propaganda to justify attacking Putin..Dat a boy!

  33. Davy on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 6:11 pm 

    Tulsi isn’t a liberal paultard. She’s a socialist dumbass.

  34. I hate makati1 on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 6:25 pm 

    makati has so many enemies, including ones he doesn’t know about, it’s unbeleivable. Why? Because makati is the biggest fucking douche bag to walk this planet. Yeah, I’m not on ur list and I fucking hate ur guts as well makati boy. God, how I wish makati boy and me went to school together. I would have punded his fucking face and loved it. Forgot to say why I hate u. Every part, every fiber of who ur reeks like the most stinking garbage dump imagainable- u make the smell of rotting flesh smell better than the odor u emit.

  35. makati1 on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 7:32 pm 

    Insanity getting worse Davy? I have no “enemies” just some idiot internet bots that are incapable of original thought or controlling their “feelings”. In the US they are called “snowflakes”. People who cannot tolerate anyone who is not brainwashed like they are. America is the land of insanity now. Nothing can save it.

    Watching the US go down the shitter with my morning coffee is my usual way to start my day. Then out to enjoy my location in the land of eternal summer called the Philippines. I enjoy real freedom here. There is no freedom in the US police state oligarchy.

    Some of today’s headlines:

    “EPA Proposes Use of 650,000 Pounds of Antibiotics Per Year on Citrus Fields”
    “Trump’s $34 Trillion Deficit and Debt Bomb” GO TRUMP!
    “Selected Articles: War Spending Is Bankrupting America”
    “US Lawmakers Ponder: “To Impeach?” or “To Run?””
    “The College Admissions Scandal Is A Perfect Example Of How Deeply Corrupt America Has Become”
    “One Thing Congress Gets Right: Funding Their Own Pensions…’
    And on and on….

    SLIP SLIDIN’…

  36. Davy on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 8:51 pm 

    If you had no other source of personal interaction makato, and had to listen to this shit everyday like I do, you’d go insane too.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlYlNF30bVg

  37. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 9:03 pm 

    ‘Critical incident’: Shots fired at New Zealand mosque, multiple victims reported

    He described the man as white-skinned, blond, short, and wearing a helmet and bulletproof vest.

    https://www.rt.com/news/453857-new-zealand-mosque-shooter/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=push_notifications&utm_campaign=push_notifications

    Another white mass murder! They are scum a

  38. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 9:38 pm 

    TRUMP will not be able to win the next election. There will be to many young voters.

  39. Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 9:56 pm 

    Hi Davy,

    The first steps to recovery are honesty, and accepting personal responsibility.

    It’s not the goat’s fault.

  40. makati1 on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 10:25 pm 

    D/M, and your refs to support the number of “young” that will actually vote? Actually vote, not just eligible to vote. Waiting…

    2016 voting:
    18-44 year olds – About 50% voted.
    45+ year olds – About 68% voted.

    https://census.gov/newsroom/blogs/random-samplings/2017/05/voting_in_america.html

    2020 voting age numbers:
    About 100,000,000 voters under age 44
    About 150,000,000 voters over age 44

    https://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-03.pdf

    BTW: Trump won thru the Electoral College, not the popular vote. GO TRUMP! Make America Break! LOL

  41. makati1 on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 10:26 pm 

    Mental Health, that was funny! Thanks! ^_^

  42. Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 10:52 pm 

    Dear Mr Makakat1

    Mental Health disabilities are a serious social and medical problem. One that affects tens of millions of Americans, or quite possibly, most or all of them. We dont use terms, like ‘crazy’,’nutter, ‘prick’ when discussing patients or their prognosis.

    Nor do we recommended or counsel man-on-goat relations as a therapy for individuals suffering from anger management and or frequent delusional episodes.

    However, in Davy’s case, we are willing to reconsider these guidelines. He is one messed up whackjob. Crazy as a loon. If he were under our care, we’d strap him down and dose him up with the ‘special cocktail’, of grey-market psychotropic drugs normally reserved for the worst-of-the worst cases. Then wed hook him up to the convulsive electro-shock machine. We call it ‘Old Smokey’ around the office. While that device is technically ‘illegal’, like the drugs, we keep that tool around for exceptional cases like this.

    We take our mandate to bring relief to those suffering from mental illness seriously, and you should too. Please have Davy come into one of our offices to discuss options with one of our counselors as soon as possible.

  43. Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 11:16 pm 

    Thanks Sandra,

    My understanding is that there have already been criminal charges lodged against this individual. It would be in the best interest of our association if we didn’t get any further involved.

  44. Cloggie on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 1:26 am 

    He’s the new Kennedy!

    I certainly hope so but I doubt it. Kennedy was the most anti-semitic president the US ever had, that’s why he was killed. He wanted to abolish the Federal Reserve and prevent the Israelis from acquiring nukes.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2329556/How-JFK-secretly-ADMIRED-Hitler-Explosive-book-reveals-Presidents-praise-Nazis-travelled-Germany-Second-World-War.html

  45. Cloggie on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 1:28 am 

    makati has so many enemies, including ones he doesn’t know about, it’s unbeleivable.

    He has many friends too.

    It all depends on who supports the empire and who doesn’t.

  46. Cloggie on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 1:35 am 

    Nobody even cares what you post

    Apparently you do since you are reacting all the time.

    You always keep on whining on “immanent peak oil”. Well, here is a system with which you can replace short range car traffic with e-bikes that hardly consume any energy at all. And physical exercise of one hour per day always pays itself back later in life with a multiplier.

  47. Cloggie on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 2:10 am 

    Now even Trump disses the Boeing 737 Mad Max 8:

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6809063/Trump-told-officials-Boeing-737-sucked-wouldnt-used-failed-Trump-Shuttle.html

    “Trump told officials Boeing 737 ‘sucked’, he would never have used it for his failed Trump Shuttle and he preferred his personal 757 – a model that went out of production 15 years ago”

    This will probably boost the sales of the Airbus A320 world-wide. There are currently 5000 outstanding orders for the Max. The real damage is the PR-damage: the public refusing to fly in the thing.

    Reasons behind the disaster: design mistakes

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/what-s-wrong-with-the-boeing-737-max-8-a-1257608.html

  48. Cloggie on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 2:15 am 

    Strange that the French, not the Americans, are doing the investigation of the Boeing crash:

    http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/unternehmen/boeing-737-max-8-frankreich-untersucht-blackbox-der-abgestuerzten-boeing-a-1257731.html

    “Deutsche Experten lehnten ab – Frankreich untersucht Blackbox”

    France is de facto primus inter pares Airbus country, and perfectly capable and trustworthy to do the investigation.

    But why let a competitor do this?

  49. makati1 on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 3:41 am 

    Cloggie, the US has too much to lose if the 737 is junk, like most things made in the US these days. Some $600 billion in contracts.

    Countries are already stopping contracts and postponing purchases until it all shakes out. One more crash and Boeing is toast.

  50. Not Davy on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 5:23 am 

    JuanP

    Davy on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 8:51 pm

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