NASA’s Innovations: Soaring into an Electrified Flight Future

  • Reading Time:3Minutes

The aviation industry, a major player in global CO2 emissions at approximately 2.4 percent, has long grappled with the challenge of going electric. It’s an essential move, considering the escalating need to address climate change. Euronews highlights this global push towards electrification as both a challenge and an opportunity.

While electric flight has been realized to some extent, with lighter crafts such as drones reaping the benefits, passenger aircraft largely remain out of the electric loop. The crux of the problem lies in the current state of battery technology which, despite its advancement in the automotive sector, fails to meet the specific needs of aviation.

Understanding the Battery Hurdle

Lithium-ion batteries, a stalwart in electric cars and everyday devices, exhibit a fragility that restricts their application in aircraft. This vulnerability is why passengers receive the familiar instruction to avoid placing items like laptops or smartphones in checked luggage. The inherent risks tied to their composition make them unfit for an environment where safety is paramount.

Thus, the quest for a groundbreaking solution continues—and NASA may hold the answer.

Into the Realm of Solid-State Batteries

NASA, a name synonymous with space exploration and innovation, is now playing a pivotal role in this battery revolution. The organization’s Solid-state Architecture Batteries for Enhanced Rechargeability and Safety (SABERS) project seeks to supplant the liquid electrolyte chemicals used in traditional batteries (a known safety red flag) with solid-state alternatives.

What makes this innovation so groundbreaking? Solid-state batteries not only meet the stringent power and efficiency metrics required for aviation but also present an unprecedented level of safety. Unlike their predecessors, they won’t combust, even when damaged.

NASA’s prototype, a sulphur-selenium concoction, delivers an impressive 500 watt-hours of energy per kilogram—effectively doubling the energy density of its lithium-ion counterpart. The essence of an effective aircraft battery, NASA elucidates, is its ability to discharge energy rapidly—akin to emptying a large bucket swiftly. Their cutting-edge designs have achieved this at rates previously deemed unattainable.

As per Rocco Viggiano, SABERS’ principal investigator, these batteries not only slash the weight by 30-40% but can also hold two to three times more energy than today’s lithium-ion batteries.

The Flight Path Ahead

While the promise of these batteries is undeniably impressive, they come with their set of challenges. Their current production costs are steep, and rigorous testing awaits before they can be integrated into commercial aircraft.

However, hope remains high. NASA’s recent advancements in the technology are steadily chipping away at the barriers to electric flight.

Parting Thoughts

NASA’s endeavours paint a hopeful picture for the future of aviation, emphasizing that when innovation meets determination, the sky’s the limit. As the journey to a sustainable future in aviation continues, every breakthrough gets us one step closer.

Source: euronews.com

Recent article

Drones News & Articles

Remote refuelling drone

Drones News & Articles

More and more things are being delivered by drones

EVTOL & VTOL News & Articles

New design solves one of the biggest problems of eVTOLs

Electric airplane News & Articles

Advancements in Propulsion Technology

EVTOL & VTOL News & Articles

Unraveling eVTOL Operational Costs and Solutions

Air taxi News & Articles

First urban air taxi services to start soon

News & Articles Propulsion-Fuel

Biofuel-Powered Aircraft and Drones

Flying Cars News & Articles

The Resilience of Flying Cars in Adverse Weather Conditions

Flying Cars News & Articles

A Chinese company may produce the AirCar flying cars

Air taxi News & Articles

Economic Dynamics of Urban Air Mobility

EVTOL & VTOL News & Articles

Suzuki to produce a flying car

Air taxi News & Articles

You can now order a flying taxi from the online shop

Additional aircraft News & Articles

Other notable aircraft

Air taxi News & Articles

Autonomous Air Traffic Control Systems

Drones News & Articles

Swarm Technology for Drones

News & Articles Propulsion-Fuel

Stratolaunch’s hypersonic vehicle launched for the first time

News & Articles Propulsion-Fuel

Centuries-old technology could revolutionise aviation

Flying Cars News & Articles

Alef’s flying car preparing for take-off
More articles you may be interested in...

Drones News & Articles

Swarm Technology for Drones

Swarm technology for drones represents a fascinating frontier in the development and application of unmanned.......... READ MORE

EVTOL & VTOL News & Articles

The Global Race for Air Mobility Supremacy: Who Are the Leading Players and Innovators ?

The transportation landscape is on the cusp of a revolutionary transformation, with electric vertical takeoff.......... READ MORE

News & Articles Propulsion-Fuel

The Environmental Impact of Electric Aviation: Beyond Zero Emissions

The environmental benefits of electric aviation are underpinned by the shift from burning fossil fuels.......... READ MORE

EVTOL & VTOL News & Articles

What Role Will Public Perception and Community Engagement Play in the Adoption of Urban Air Mobility ?

Urban Air Mobility (UAM), comprising air taxis and other Passenger Air Vehicles (PAVs), promises a.......... READ MORE

News & Articles Propulsion-Fuel

Stratolaunch’s hypersonic vehicle launched for the first time

The company did not say exactly what speed the vehicle accelerated to, but said it.......... READ MORE

News & Articles Propulsion-Fuel

How are emerging technologies like blockchain and IoT being leveraged to enhance the safety, efficiency, and user experience of urban air mobility services ?

Emerging technologies like blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) are poised to significantly enhance.......... READ MORE

News & Articles Propulsion-Fuel

Centuries-old technology could revolutionise aviation

The jet engine without moving parts is not new, but it is too expensive to.......... READ MORE

Air taxi News & Articles

Economic Viability: Are Flying Cars and eVTOLs Economically Viable for Mass Adoption ?

The dream of mass-market flying cars and electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft hinges.......... READ MORE