All electric aircraft over the horizon

An all-electric aircraft could soon appear over the horizon thanks to high-flying scientific research published today in the Institute of Physics‘ journal, Superconductor Science and Technology. The new type of aircraft, currently on the drawing board, could be far more efficient than conventional aircraft, produce less greenhouse emissions, and be quieter.

Philippe Masson and Cesar Luongo from Florida State University, who have collaborated with Gerald Brown at NASA and Danielle Soban at Georgia Institute of Technology say superconducting motors could be the basis for very efficient propulsion in future aircraft due to their lack of electrical resistance.

A superconducting motor would be very lightweight and generate three times the torque of a conventional electric motor for the same energy input and weight. However, superconducting magnets not only have to be cold, but require a unique energy supply. Masson and his colleagues believe they could solve both problems by using liquid hydrogen to run an electric fuel cell. Liquid hydrogen is cold enough to make the superconducting magnets work but also has four times as much energy weight for weight than aviation fuel.

Masson says that the team is now looking for an industrial partner to build a prototype of the superconducting turbofan.

We could potentially build a superconducting motor and generator smaller than a gas turbine, which would make possible electric propulsion. The technology is there, it is a matter of finding a source of funding.


2 Responses

  1. […] more efficient than conventional aircraft, produce less greenhouse emissions, and be quieter. All electric aircraft over the horizon « Envirofuel – Promoting sustainable mobility __________________ Tomorrows realities, emerge from today’s dreams. Live the dream ! Cheers, 007 […]

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