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Future Tech

The mysterious case of the disappearing electric nosewheels

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Fitting electric nosewheels to aircraft could reduce weight and improve efficiency – so where are they? Aircraft ground manoeuvring wastes energy. With gas turbines running inefficiently at minimum power while taxiing, or while just waiting for a slot, a typical A320/737 will consume 600 kgs of kerosene every day of …

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New Solar Electric Propulsion contract to help NASA reach Mars

SEP System. Source: NASA.

As part of its Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) project, NASA has initiated a contract with US aerospace and defense firm Aerojet Rocketdyne for the development of an “advanced electric propulsion system,” which would enable craft to travel further into space and aid a future manned mission to Mars. The three-year, …

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Rice Uni publishes hot new battery research

A toothpaste-like composite with hexagonal boron nitride developed at Rice University is an effective electrolyte and separator in lithium-ion batteries intended for high-temperature applications. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

Researchers at Texas’ Rice University have engineered a new electrolyte and separator for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, allowing the cells to work across a far greater temperature range. Central to their innovation is the use of hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), an atom-thin compound often referred to as “white graphene.” The resulting …

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ORNL trials 20-kW wireless EV charging

Oak Ridge National Laboratory's 20-kilowatt wireless charging system.
Source: ORNL

A 20-kilowatt wireless charging system demonstrated at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has achieved 90% efficiency at three times the rate of the plug-in systems commonly used for electric vehicles (EVs) today. While wireless charging is not necessarily one of the technology gaps holding EVs back, …

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Electric Wheelchair can Climb and Descend Stairs (Electric Vehicles Research)

The TopChair-S is an electric wheelchair that can climb up and down stairs developed by a company in France. It allows disabled people to travel long distances effortlessly and comfortably. According to the creators, Topchair-S allows you to be mobile, especially in urban areas, by making previously inaccessible areas accessible …

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Solar-Powered Helium Airship Proposed (Renew Economy)

Sir David King, the former UK chief scientist and now climate change special representative for the UK conservative government, has proposed a solar-powered helium airship. King raised the idea during a session on innovation at the International Renewable Energy summit in Abu Dhabi. He mentioned a company called VariaLift, which is in the …

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