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· Invalid Media
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Awesome stuff, and in my back yard too. What the article doesn't mention is that the test flight was done by the company's CEO - now there's someone who believes in leadership.

Before people start, a few obvious points:
  • Yes, the range is limited, but Harbour Air typically only flies routes <70nmi, which are within the range of this plane (with adequate margin)
  • Yes, this would not work for longer routes
  • Yes, it's only carbon neutral if you generate the power in a renewable manner, which in BC we do (~95 renewable)
  • Yes, they still have to prove reliability

...proud to say that this took place in my front yard, so to speak (even if the reported flight was in Richmond, not actually Vancouver proper). While there have been other electric plane demos before (US, Europe) and even recently an electric passenger-carrying drone (Volocopter), this apparently is the first application for sea planes.

I have taken Harbour Air plenty of times and pass by their downtown Vancouver terminal every day; these are short-haul flights mostly over water in sturdy STOL type planes (that ol' venerable DH Beaver), which aides with safety and emergency situations. That in turn makes it an ideal vehicle to get licensed for electric propulsion and push technologies further via daily use for other aviation applications down the line. As others have observed, energy density is still a big issue concerning even relatively recent battery designs when it gets to longer-haul, higher altitude - but we need Harbour Air type applications to move this technology forward on a commercial scale.

Finally, folks in downtown Vancouver might appreciate a reduction in noise, propeller sound not withstanding :) Ditto for reduced emissions in an area that already deals with large freight, container and cruise ships and the supporting infrastructure.

 

· Invalid Media
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Looking for that liquid hydrogen breakthrough please.

...that would be nice, not least as the universe seems to run on hydrogen...besides it would work in our regular combustion engines after only a minor fuel-line and compression change.

But apart from producing it in liquid state, there's the -423 F storage requirement, ie. via 13+ atmosphere pressures. I rather not pull up to a filling station with the proverbial absent-minded little old lady/gent having a smoke on the next pump, or a teen incessantly on their cell phone. Think 'Hindenburg' zeppelin...
 

· Invalid Media
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I have a home hydrogen production setup. You can even weld with hydrogen if you were so inclined :)

You can reasonably easily convert a liquid propane BBQ grill to run on hydrogen if you are curious. The only issue becomes sourcing enough hydrogen. And of course hydrogen likes to escape just about any container you have it in.

The troubles with burning it are many, however. And any metals situated around burning hydrogen tend to get pitted and brittle, and then break in short order. Pistons + cylinder heads + cylinder walls + piston rings would need to be remade from a different alloy in order to survive long term.

...yeah, 'in principle', hydrogen fuel works great, though there are various 'buts' in terms of both raw fuel production /storage / delivery / infrastructure, as well as some compatibility issues & reliability as you state. Without straying too far from the original OP, around the turn of the last century, steam and battery powered cars were actually ahead of combustion-engine cars in terms of sales - but then Standard Oil happened, exploiting the advantages (minus environmental externalities) of the energy density of gasoline - and a gas station in even many smaller hamlets plus Model T did the rest...

A case in point would be the Lohner Porsches around 1900 - 1905...one pure battery, the other one a hybrid...in its most advanced form, four electric motors (one per wheel hub, see spoiler)...sounds all very modern, but the damn thing apparently weighed close to four tons with only rudimentary brakes and no power steering...obviously, secure and clean energy source provision and infrastructure all were a century late...

But to bring it back to Harbour Air and its electric sea plane per OP; this is exactly what is needed: ...relatively safe (re. emergency) short-distance, low-altitude flights in nasty weather (!), collecting somewhat 'big(gish) data' so that the next steps of commercialization of electric propulsion in air travel can proceed. This needs more than just a few prototypes way ahead of their time, this needs commercial use-cases...and data

 

· Invalid Media
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... don't get me started on Toronto's absolutely mess of construction/planning/etc. I'm sure it's equally as bad in BC though (...)

...yeah, I am in downtown Vancouver for 25+ years now, and it is getting crazier by the minute...seems like no real planning, just construction at every corner, and 'under' every corner and bridge as well. Also, I recently drove from Vancouver to Toronto and when it gets to comparing 'downtowns', I would be hard pressed to pick the '''winner''' :sick: . That said, Northern BC, the Rockies, Lake of the Woods and NE Lake Superior en route still seem like nice Canadian places to spend some time away from it all.

Our condo building just voted to install trickle-chargers in about 1/3rd of the the underground parking area - but it is a relatively new building, across from a freshly upgraded city hub station for 'emergency power & water' with corresponding infrastructure near-by, mostly sourcing hydro-power. Still, I'm not ready yet to go full-electric yet given the type of non-metro driving I also do...a plug-in hybrid will probably be my first foray into this 'electric mobility' world rather than full electric - s.th. like the X5 PHEV or similar. Good thing that there are a lot of choices coming to market now...
 

· Invalid Media
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...It's all about torque (=twisting force used to accelerate). Big off-electrical-grid locomotives use diesel-electric drives (the diesel turns a generator which in turn drives electric traction motors) as electric motors have a fundamental advantage in torque delivery: In electric motors, max torque is produced from the get go.

That still does not solve the problem of battery storage in rural / off-grid and industrial applications, but it is not very difficult to convert a diesel engine to natural gas, and that is happening these days from trucks to marine diesel engines to stationary diesel power generators. That's not an all-encompassing silver bullet, but still is a major step in the right direction re. environment. In addition, the more electric drives are used (even in conjunction with fossil fuels for now) in the real world, the better the development of electric drive components will get - and be more than ready for more advanced battery and fuel cell tech down the line
 
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