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  #41  
Old 12-01-2021, 02:45 PM
Bernardo's Avatar
Bernardo Bernardo is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 21
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Rat View Post
I agree that electric propulsion is the future of transportation, after all, dino juice can't last forever...
There is a third way: biofuels. About as sustainable and carbon-neutral as a battery, with about the same energy density as fossil fuels.

One possibility is synthetic UL91, which has already been used to fuel a Rotax-912-powered Ikarus C42.

Another possibility is ethanol. (By "ethanol" I mean pure ethanol, E85 to E100, not "gasoline with some ethanol in it" like the E15 that we buy at the gas station). It does pose some challenges - which is why engine companies like Lycoming and Rotax tell us to avoid it - but it is possible to overcome those challenges through R&D, and (after enough testing and some minor modifications) to run most piston airplane engines on ethanol. In Brazil, a large fraction of cars have been running on ethanol for decades, and cropdusters are powered by certified IO-540 engines that run on ethanol. It's not rocket science. It's just a matter of testing materials until you find reliable ones that are not corroded by ethanol, for things like fuel lines and gaskets and fuel pumps and so on.

A third possibility is biodiesel / synthetic Jet-A, which is what most people mean when they say "Sustainable Aviation Fuel". This is already used by airlines and jet manufacturers and bizjet operators and the USAF and Navy. However, there are only very few people who fly piston-powered airplanes who want diesel engines, which have the side benefit of being able to burn Jet-A. I won't go into all the pros and cons of those engines, other than to say that their high price seems to prevent them from becoming super popular.

For example, the Vanguard Squadron has been flying RVs on biofuels for many years.

I would not recommend that anyone start flying their airplane on ethanol, or any other alternative fuel, without first developing a thorough understanding of how each material in your fuel system holds up to years of exposure to the fuel in question, including mixtures with water, or on surfaces that is mostly exposed to air but occasionally to fuel, etc. When you start using an alternative fuel before there are reliable materials and modifications for it on the market (based on R&D and, ideally, years of experience), you're basically engineering your own fuel system.

But it's only a matter of time until we all have to choose one of these options, and are forced to do the R&D and testing and modifications required to safely use synthetic fuels (or hydrogen) or to improve batteries, because dino juice won't last forever.
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Worked on wind-tunnel research, on design & modeling of rocket & jet engines, control systems for UAVs & spacecraft, jetliner maintenance planning, lab tests & computer modeling of innovative aero structures, future airplane designů But I have always wanted to work for a small company, on airplanes optimized for fun rather than profit, and no airplane is more fun than an RV!

Last edited by Bernardo : 12-02-2021 at 10:55 AM. Reason: Clarification: "Ethanol" means "pure ethanol". Added line about hydrogen and batteries, linked to FAA Climate Action Plan.
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  #42  
Old 12-01-2021, 08:33 PM
David Z David Z is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Thunder Bay Ontario
Posts: 776
Default Messy

Hydrocarbon fuels also mean lubrication oil. This all eventually leaks from somewhere. Needs maintenance, is messy, needs proper disposal.

Air cooled electric motor has no need for lubrication oil, so no oil changes, no mess, no fuel tank leaks or weeping rivets. Us Canucks are plugging in our airplanes so the hydrocarbon engine is warm enough to start. Might as well unplug a power source for an electric motor and go flying. I know we're a long way off in terms of battery capacity and recharge rates. Low maintenance and cleanliness sounds wonderful. Can't wait.
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  #43  
Old Today, 01:16 PM
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smokyray smokyray is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: TX32
Posts: 1,968
Default Train Wreck...

Not to De-Rail this thread any more than it already has been, the RV15 and RV16 are yet to be unveiled by Van's skunkworks but have been vaguely defined in their official statement (see home page this site) at OSH last summer.
High Wing, multi passenger, backcountry (off airport) capable aircraft.

As far as propulsion, until the technology of alternate fuel, electric power or steam, Nuke or otherwise reaches reliable, cost effective and readily available, affordable sources, I don't see it happening prior to next Spring's announcement and prototype (s) slipping the surlies.
That said, I bet it has a Lycoming bolted on the front...

For now.
V/R
Smokey

Last edited by smokyray : Today at 01:26 PM.
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  #44  
Old Today, 02:23 PM
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Mel Mel is online now
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Dallas area
Posts: 11,226
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokyray View Post
Not to De-Rail t
That said, I bet it has a Lycoming bolted on the front...
For now.
V/R
Smokey
Ya Think??????? I certainly wouldn't bet against that!! Well, steam maybe!
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  #45  
Old Today, 03:13 PM
PilotjohnS PilotjohnS is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Southwest
Posts: 1,825
Default I wanna know

Quote:
Originally Posted by smokyray View Post
Not to De-Rail this thread any more than it already has been, the RV15 and RV16 are yet to be unveiled by Van's skunkworks but have been vaguely defined in their official statement (see home page this site) at OSH last summer.
High Wing, multi passenger, backcountry (off airport) capable aircraft.

As far as propulsion, until the technology of alternate fuel, electric power or steam, Nuke or otherwise reaches reliable, cost effective and readily available, affordable sources, I don't see it happening prior to next Spring's announcement and prototype (s) slipping the surlies.
That said, I bet it has a Lycoming bolted on the front...

For now.
V/R
Smokey
Just wanna know if it is a 320, 390, or 540?
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WARNING! Information presented in this post is my opinion. All users of info have sole responsibility for determining accuracy or suitability for their use.

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