Lithium Sulfur Batteries And The Future Of Electric Aviation

David Pflieger highlights the future of electric aviation: lithium sulfur batteries.

In a world that is increasingly focused on man’s impact on the environment, renewable electric energy has taken the world of transportation by storm. Electric cars, electric boats, electric trains, and even electric airplanes are all being used and further developed by companies attempting to cash in on this brave new world. The industry is not without its downsides however.

Airplanes in particular have proven to be difficult to convert to electric power. This is due to the high amounts of energy needed to get an airplane into the air combined with the necessity of a relatively light rig. After all, it is hard to become airborne when something is too heavy.

This is what has made electric power a long shot for aviation. Most electric powered vehicles use lithium-ion batteries to store electric energy. This is what Tesla uses in their cars and trucks. Great advances have been made in lithium-ion energy in the past decade alone. It is still not enough.

One British company is doing its best to provide something revolutionary by looking to the past. Oxis Energy is bring back lithium-sulfur batteries, which have been around since the 1960s, in an attempt to offer a better alternative to what is currently available. The difference between lithium-ion batteries and their sulfur cousins is the amount of energy that can be stored in them.

Simply put, the energy density of lithium-sulfur batteries has already doubled that of their ion counterparts. What made this technology undesirable in the past is the short lifespan. This is still an issue, but Oxis Energy is confident that with further development it is possible to manufacture lithium-sulfur batteries that are both energy dense and capable of lasting a long time.

In order to read the full article, written by David Pflieger, make sure to click the link.

Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider: A Profile

David Pflieger highlights the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider.

Since World War II the United States has maintained air superiority around the globe. The USA has long been the vanguard of military technology. The future of the Air Force’s stealth abilities is embodied in the futuristic B-21, a stealth long-ranger bomber. The B-21 has a longer range, newly developed stealth abilities, and greater endurance than previous similar bombers. The endurance and range of the B-21 allow the bomber to avoid surface to air defense systems and could also facilitate a quick strike anywhere in the world. The bomber’s formal name, “Raider”, was coined collectively by a competition amongst members of the Air Force are their close associates.

After the Air Force revealed the artist rendering of the B-21 bomber the Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James mentioned the intention to develop a new long-range, stealth bomber with capabilities to avoid detection. Despite the Air Force’s claims that the new bomber will be near impossible to detect, Russian media reports the United State’s stealth technology is useless when paired against their ground to air defenses. The S-300 and S-400 Russian ground defenses have an excellent reputation around the world. However, the Air Force Secretary insists the B-21 will prove to be superior to Russian defense systems.

The details of the B-21 are not available but nonetheless some details are apparent from the artist rendering of the bomber. The absence of exhaust pipes suggests the Air Force was able to circumvent the release of fumes that can be detected by heat-seeking weapons. Defense firm Northrop Grumman won a contract from the Air Force to engineer the B-21. The long term intention of the B-21 is to replace the late Cold War-era bomber the B-2. The Air Force seeks to begin using the B-21 by the mid-2020s and intends to purchase 20 to 50 B-21s at approximately $550 million. The technology developed for the B-21 is capable of being updated as defense systems around the world upgrade as well. Other details of the B-21 may include the capacity to fly unmanned and to potentially deliver nuclear weapons.

In order to read the full article, written by David Pflieger, make sure to click the link.

The Heathrow Expansion: What is it?

David Pflieger highlights the Heathrow Airport expansion.

European airports are generally busy, but none reaches the number of passengers that annually fly through London’s Heathrow Airport. Located a short distance outside the city center and easily accessible by the London Underground and other public transportation options, Heathrow has needed an expansion for years. That expansion is about to begin.

Delays To The Heathrow Expansion

A number of groups challenged the approval that the airport received for its expansion. A couple of the major opponents included the group Friends of the Earth and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. The main reason for opposition to the addition of another runway at the UK’s flagship airport was concern over the environment. Critics of the expansion argued that the airport’s plans violated the nation’s environmental policies related to climate change, in addition to the Paris climate accord. The UK has ratified the Paris accord, but it’s not an official part of UK law. In addition to concerns over increased pollution in the area, there are concerns in the local area regarding the number of houses that would need to be demolished to make room for the expansion.

The court system ultimately rejected the argument from the critics of the planned expansion. There was an acknowledgement from the judges who provided the ruling that there was substance to the arguments of these opponents. However, the main concern of the judges was the legality of the project. The judges returned a unanimous ruling that decided that Heathrow could proceed with its planned expansion.

In order to read the full article, written by David Pflieger, make sure to click the link.

Tips and Tricks Behind Designing an Airport

David Pflieger highlights what architects consider when designing an airport.

Architects don’t have an easy job, but there’s something especially daunting about designing an airport. The dramatically high volume of travelers that come through these transit points are also incredibly diverse. The necessary chokepoints like security stations and baggage claim add an extra layer of complexity to things, and while airports are fundamentally about shuttling people from one place to another as efficiently as possible, it’s also a place of commerce. These two competing notions are often in conflict with one another. As a result, architects have to be strategic with their design, and there are a number of clever tricks they’ve learned to employ over the years.

One of the key tasks an architect needs to achieve is putting customers at ease. The crowds, tight deadlines, and high level of security in airports can be incredibly stress-inducting, so designers have learned that establishing cues is necessary to facilitate a sense of orderly conduct. The most critical of these is a philosophy known as “wayfinding”. Getting lost disrupts the core efficiency of an airport while also exacerbating that core anxiety, so architects try to use the environment to guide individuals to their destinations as quickly as possible. Different terminals often use different signage, coloring, and even carpets to designate a change of environment, and large pieces of art serve as implicit guideposts for passengers who might have lost their way.

And while airports have become increasingly more secure with the presence of tighter security checkpoints and more officers, smart airport design ensures that passengers play an important role in maintaining order and security. Posters and signs throughout modern airports don’t just nudge customers into reporting suspicious behavior. They strongly enforce the notion that doing so is an act of virtue. In doing so, these prompts become an implicit act of virtue on the part of passengers rather than an imperative from an authoritarian figure.

One of the great ironies of modern airport design is that many of the security measures themselves are largely theater in the same way this signage is. Small measures like encouraging engagement by customers and increasing administrative security protocol have the most substantive effect on an airport’s security, but they aren’t decisions that are objectively present in the minds of passengers and thus do little to ease concerns about their safety. When new security machines and checkpoints are put in place, they’re as much for the sake of the attitudes of passengers as they are preventive anti-crime measures.

In order to read the full article, written by David Pflieger, make sure to click the link.