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  • 40

Electric seaplanes could soon ferry passengers in the Pacific Northwest

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NASA, Boeing and Uber have each announced plans for electric and hybrid passenger aircraft, but a smaller aviation company might beat them to the punch. Yesterday, Harbour Airlines announced that it will convert all of its seaplanes into electric aircraft. The company plans to swap its current, conventional engines for 750 horsepower electric motors made by magniX. (www.engadget.com) Ещё...

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TorstenHoff
Torsten Hoff 11
I'm curious about the certification for commercial passenger operation, and the turnaround time for charging the batteries.

And while I'm going to miss the sound of radial engine Beavers, but I'm just as excited to see one converted to electric propulsion.
linbb
linbb 3
Going to be quite a while due to tech on batties but Tesla has announced a was to quick charge them. It uses battery cooling along with the charge leads having the same. Weight is going to be the problem and always has been the second is how long the charge will last. It is something way in the future from what has been shown so far.
TorstenHoff
Torsten Hoff 2
Yes, not only do the batteries have to have a liquid cooling system, even the charging cables need one, too. And in cold conditions the batteries need to be brought up to a minimum temperature.
craiglgood
Craig Good -1
The batteries on my Tesla are air-cooled. Managing battery temperature is also handled by the car. The only real issue is weight, and they have apparently handled that.
TorstenHoff
Torsten Hoff 4
Which Tesla do you have? As far as I know all Tesla batteries are liquid-cooled.

Weight shouldn't be a huge concern, the electric motor will be lighter than the Beaver's radial engine, and the batteries will replace large fuel tanks. Weight-wise it could be a wash when considering the system as a whole.
yr2012
matt jensen 5
Long overdue
https://www.magnix.aero/products/
KobeHunte
Kobe Hunte 4
They "could".. A lot of these big ideas never actually happen. Will be interesting to see if it does.
indy2001
indy2001 3
The FAA will have to come up with certification standards for electric airliners. Flying an electrically-powered private aircraft is one thing, but carrying fare-paying passengers is something else entirely. And pilots and maintenance folks will need to be suitably trained and certified. Given the current MAX situation, I hope the FAA takes the time to do it right!
patstphens1174
Richard Fox 3
Consider the 2019 model Cessna Grand Caravan EX amphibious. It has an efficient Pratt & Whitney PT6A-140 turboprop. Instead of AVTUR, the fuel is algae biofuel. The emissions and operational efficiency benefits of using this aircraft over an electric model would appeal to airlines more.
patstphens1174
Richard Fox 6
Watch this space folks. As soon as algae biofuel can reach commercial scale, there will be no need to destroy the earth either by charging EVs with coal, mining the earth for materials needed to make batteries or solar panels. Algae biofuels capture CO2 when growing,the emissions after combustion within an efficient modern engine is next to nothing - and can easily be recaptured by trees etc.
nitramwin
martin adams 1
Just wanted to jump in here to say that while emissions in terms of CO2 might be negligible due to the take-up of CO2 in the carbon cycle, the particulate emissions remain problematic all the same. Although CO2 emissions are examined more on the global level due to efficient mixing phenomenon (it is a gas, after all!), the particulate matter is a much more local issue and remains a difficulty for areas - especially urban - to manage. PM, unburned hydrocarbons and other harmful gases like CO and NOx still result from the combustion process. No, I think the combustion process will not be the future but instead fuel cells coupled with electrical storage (in the form of batteries) will become the standard. The technologies are still expensive yet with continued research and with deployment at scale, prices are likely to become competitive.
patstphens1174
Richard Fox 4
+martin adams

'The production and combustion of algal biofuel does not produce any sulfur oxides or nitrous oxides, and produces a reduced amount of carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, and reduced emission of other harmful pollutants.' I agree with you, there will still be some emissions. The biggies are CO2 and NOx. There is an 80% reduction in CO2 and ZERO nitrous oxide emissions from this fuel.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algae_fuel#Environmental_impact

We humans love to engineer our way out of the problems we make. Pratt & Whitney's PW1500G powers the new ultra-efficient Airbus A220-100/300 and boasts a 16% reduction in fuel consumption, a 75% reduction in noise footprint and a 50% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions. Believe me, these achievements will only continue with clever engineering. Much like the catalytic converter on a car, the harmful emissions CAN turn to ZERO. Or in the case of the catalytic converter, a small amount of CO2 and H2O.

Cheers!
KobeHunte
Kobe Hunte 4
KobeHunte
Kobe Hunte 1
This link supports this topic a lot better -

https://worldairlinenews.com/2019/03/26/harbour-air-wants-to-transform-to-an-all-electric-airline/
TorstenHoff
Torsten Hoff 7
Or this (linked to in the Engadget article):

https://www.harbourair.com/harbour-air-and-magnix-partner-to-build-worlds-first-all-electric-airline/
ChaosFreak
ChaosFreak 1
I know that the primary reason for the push to electrify aircraft engines is environmental, but I'm curious if there's a safety angle here as well. While lithium-ion batteries can burst into flame when punctured, I imagine (based on no evidence, mind you) the danger to passengers would be significantly less than liquid fuels which spill out over the entire aircraft when the fuel tanks are ruptured on impact, leading to the entire aircraft being engulfed in flames.

Is anyone aware of any safety studies that show that batteries are less likely to catch fire in a crash than liquid fuels, or that the fire would be less intense and less likely to affect the interior of the aircraft?
n555cf
rbt schaffer 2
I think the operator states that while the initial changeover might be more costly, the electric drive is not subject to limits of a 2000-2500 TBO. Therefore maintenance costs are greatly reduced in the long term.
MKanzler
Mark Kanzler 1
A Beaver without those intense vibrations just wouldn't be the same.
sgbelverta
sharon bias -1
Wonder if it's going anywhere near SEA? That airport is a bear to get to, especially from the assorted island. The travel to SEA is often longer than your commercial flight.
PDLanum
Philip Lanum 3
Harbour Air uses Lake Union in Seattle as their base. Lake Union is 16 miles north of SEA and getting to SEA goes through downtown Seattle. It is still going to be a bear to get to SEA from Lake Union. Although you could go from Lake Union and walk to the Lake Union Transit, get off at Westlake Plaza and take the train to SEATAC. Quite a bit more walking, but it could be faster if you hit the schedule just right.
KobeHunte
Kobe Hunte 1
yes it will be all over the SEA.. lol

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