Newswise – US Department of Energy (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, DOEVehicle Technology Office (VTO), National Administration of Space and Aeronautics (Nasa) The Glenn Research Center and other experts aim to make electric aviation a reality.
The world of aviation has undergone a growing revolution over the past five years with the transition from jet engines to electric motors driven by lower costs and improved performance of lithium-ion batteries. Electric propulsion offers many benefits, including lower fuel and maintenance costs, lower noise and air pollution, and unique aircraft designs.
Estimates suggest that a new mode of aviation services called Urban Air Mobility, or sometimes Advanced Air Mobility, will be a $9 billion market per 2030 and could be a $80 billion market per 2041.
“The United States has the critical mass of expertise in batteries, aviation, propulsion and systems integration to invent the next power source. 100 years of aviation. – Joint assessment of the R&D Requirements for electric aviation
But how to arrive at this electrified future? An avant-garde white paper by the Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science (ACCESS) outlines a clear set of battery requirements and research and development needs to accelerate the commercialization of electric propulsion – from short-term air taxis to 737 long-term aircraft class.
The white paper is the result of a two-day meeting to understand the unique R&D needs for electric aviation batteries organized in December 2019 at the US Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratory of Argonne. The meeting, convened by DOEVehicle Technology Office (VTO) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) Glenn Research Center, attracted nearly 100 experts from aerospace companies, component manufacturers, battery companies, materials companies, automotive companies, and university researchers and national laboratories.
The article explores four concepts of planes: air taxis, 20– passenger transport planes, 50-regional passenger jets and 150-passenger, single-aisle 737 class plane. For each concept, the article describes a research area where DOE and Nasa could help spur innovation in electric aviation batteries.
For the air taxi and commuter aircraft market, the paper calls for evaluating next-generation lithium-ion chemistries (e.g., silicon, advanced cathode, lithium-metal) under aeronautical conditions and examining failure modes and Security. For regional jets, the document recommends increasing R&D in solid-state batteries to explore new designs, manufacturing approaches and high temperature operation. And for 737 class of aircraft, the paper suggests studying high-energy systems, including sulfur-based batteries and hydrogen carriers, which are well beyond those currently in the R&Pipeline D.
“It is clear that the next decade will see a global race to commercialize electric flight, âsaid ACCESS director Venkat Srinivasan, lead author of the white paper.“The meeting of the battery and aviation communities helped establish a common language to ensure that the in-depth knowledge gained through the electrification of ground transportation could accelerate the transition for aircraft. “
Electric aviation is expected to take off within five to ten years, with innovations already underway for electric vehicle batteries playing an important role in the establishment of electric aviation. However, there are some differences between the two applications that require special attention to the use of mission-specific batteries and the unique requirements they entail, while also taking advantage of some of the benefits offered by mission-specific batteries. aviation. In the long term, the energy density needs of electric aviation greatly exceed current objectives. DOE and industry investments, requiring strategic thinking around the best approaches to enable this future.
“The results of the white paper provide a framework for the development of an investment strategy by government agencies for battery technologies specific to electric aviation beyond the current level of investment in the automotive sector, âsaid Ajay Misra, Deputy Director of Research and Engineering at Nasa Glenn Research Center.
Significant investments are being made in the next era of aviation by aerospace companies including Boeing, Airbus, Rolls, GE, United Technologies, Embraer, Bell and others. Additionally, many startup efforts in the United States have focused on innovations around electric aviation. This includes Uber Elevate which aims to provide affordable shared flights by 2023 with electrification as a basic principle. In addition, car manufacturers, including Daimler, Toyota, Hyundai and Porsche, are getting involved in aerospace startups. Indeed, Hyundai is in partnership with Uber on an air mobility concept vehicle with a 60-mile scope.
“The cost, performance and safety gains seen in today’s Li-ion batteries used for electric vehicles are largely due to DOE‘s R&D has conducted research during the last ten years, âsaid Dave Howell, Acting Director of DOEVehicle Technology Office.“Considering the maturity, diversity and innovation of this research, DOE expects a similar success to occur for the energy storage needs of electrified aircraft. “
Argonne remains committed to driving the electrification of aviation and, at the December meeting, encouraged industry leaders to share ideas that would help them achieve common goals. Argonne has a long history of battery and energy storage innovation. The lab helped revolutionize the game-changing lithium-ion battery for the automotive industry, noted Suresh Sunderrajan, lab director associated with the energy and global security branch.
“As our research on electric vehicles continues, we are taking what we have learned and taking it to heaven, âSunderrajan said at the December rally.
In the short term, lithium-ion batteries could be adapted to short-range aircraft concepts for a first market introduction. The continued electrification and expansion of the electrified aircraft market will occur as battery performance improves and advanced chemistries are tailored to specific aviation needs. However, the electrification of large regions and 737Class planes – require new types of energy storage. So the next decade will see a global race to commercialize electric flight, according to the white paper.
DOE and Nasa plan to organize a next session of this evaluation. Nasa intends to examine ways of enabling R&D to better define aircraft battery needs and ensure that industry standards are developed. DOE plans to include requirements for aircraft in future federal opportunity announcements (FOA) and calls for funding from national laboratories.
Then, DOE and Nasa will consider organizing a brainstorming session to identify means of storage / conversion of electrochemical energy at very high energy density that could allow the electric propulsion of large aircraft. And the two agencies also plan to organize a brainstorming meeting to standardize battery packs for aircraft and facilitate the supply chain of cells or packs.
“The United States has the critical mass of expertise in batteries, aviation, propulsion and systems integration to invent the next power source. 100 years of aviation â, concludes the white paper.
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energies supports early-stage research and development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies to enhance U.S. economic growth, energy security, and environmental quality.
Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to urgent national problems in science and technology. The country’s leading national laboratory, Argonne conducts cutting-edge fundamental and applied scientific research in virtually all scientific disciplines. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state, and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance U.S. scientific leadership, and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees over 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, SARL for the United States Department of Energy Science Office.
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