Aviation causes too much pollution in the air. It could be dramatically reduced or removed if batteries get strong enough to hold a large amount of charge. What If I tell you that plane itself can be used as battery!! Researchers are working on using aircraft’s structure, floor, wings, materials as charge storage without adding more to the weight of the aircraft. Looks like we are getting close to a future where planes will fly on electricity and atmospheric pollution will be negligible.
Let’s talk about problems with using battery powered planes:
1) Our present battery technology is too heavy. Airplanes will get 30% heavier than they currently are.
2) If such a massive battery is accommodated inside, than cargo carrying capacity will be reduced just for giving room to the battery.
3) Accommodating them outside of plane will increase the air drag and will cause high energy consumption and low service life of plane.
4) All the above conditions results in very high energy consumption, So plane will travel very short distance even with most efficient batteries that we currently have.
The team at NASA is working on a battery that is light in weight, Stores insane amount of charge, and charges and discharges instantly. They are interested in using this technology in both cars and airplanes. For cars, there is room available for battery storage, but for airplanes size matters. The size of airplanes cannot be too large, else it will arise problems during landing.
The team is thinking about using structure of an airplane as battery. The structure of airplane will be replaced with charge storing material that is as strong and light as the default material and will also be capable of stronging insane amount of charge for longer flights.
Whenever a plane changes its altitude, It uses a massive amount of power. The problem is even if we develop a battery that is small, lightweight and stores big amount of charge, it cannot output big amount of power required for changing altitude at once. It requires a device like capacitor to achieve this.
Team says “We are working on hybrid supercapacitors, that are capable of storing big amount of energy as a battery and also charges and discharges quickly like a capacitor”.