Archive for the ‘Innovation’ Category

Corrupt Travel Industry Should be Forced To Use Hybrid, Hydrogen Planes

March 23, 2020

Civilizations decay when taken over by plutocracy, which makes their thinking heads decay into a corrupt mediocrity enabling greed and will to power, to devour deeper, more human values until the entire society sinks into idiocy.

Example? Big pharmaceutical companies spending more on advertising than on researching and developing new treatments: it should be completely unlawful. Doctors, pharmacists are the only individuals who should be appraised of treatments, and that should be done without bells, whistles, under the counter payments, and teams of pretty girls selling the products. (In some countries, such as France, pharmacists can prescribe).   

Another industry which got out of control was the travel industry, shuttling, at enormous ecological cost, people all around the world, for no good reason. When one is European, going for a week to South East Asia, just because it’s “cheap” is immoral, anti-ecological… and has turned outright homicidal.

Civilization should exact the exact price that air travel is costing the biosphere. (I can’t be accused to be anti-air travel, because I flew for the first time as a toddler; I have had a tricontinental life… Not my choice…)

The French engineer and inventor Clément Ader created the first planes (he had also created, among many other things, better telephony, the first wireless stereo, and V8 engines; as he was a formally educated engineer, Ader invented non-trivial things; he became wealthy in the process). Adler used new technology, steam engines which were the lightest ever made. He took off on 9 October, 1890. However, in the following decade, much more powerful gasoline engines were invented. After this, the pace of innovation in aviation was blistering. Between Ader’s first flight and the first jet engines, just half a century elapsed. Eighty years after Ader took off, humanity was landing on the Moon. Since then, we have pretty much stagnated.

A little dreamy vacation from the terrible Coronavirus… Flying Wing, big electric propellers in the back to supplement high bypass jet engines… Feasible now. [NASA picture.]

Hybrid propulsion for aircraft should be feasible with existing battery technology (or the one just around the corner, with twice the energy density; let alone solid state lithium, which is on the verge of industrial production; Ader invented the lightest engine: aviation should invent the lightest batteries). 

The point of aircraft hybrid propulsion is that much power is used during ascent or emergency (all engines on). Hybrid can recover much of this energy during descent (with appropriate large slow propellers working as air brakes in the back of the plane). Due to aviation needs batteries could be much improved (going to solid state, forgoing much of the present weight for cooling and isolation of the present flammable cells; in a car, battery mass is not that important).

One can easily sketch what should be done. But it would require vastly different airframes (large propellers in the back, etc.). 

Hydrogen planes are obviously feasible, as large hydrogen rockets routinely fly (as Ariane V). They just require a massive “green” hydrogen infrastructure, which is needed anyway (to store sustainable energy such as solar PV).  

Once again, different airframes would be needed. Airbus has been using the same airframe on the A320 for 40 years…. And Boeing for nearly 60 years on the 737… The whole airline industry has become corrupt, resting, fat and content, over huge subsidies, packing passengers like disease laden sardines, flying them all over the world for no good reason… 

Ader, who invented so many things, electric or not, also created the words “avion” and “aviation”… Coronavirus is showing us that flying people like sardines should be against the law. Airline subsidies should also be against the law, be they for not paying a fuel tax, for business jets, etc. High speed or not, AWE, pollution and energy cheaper electric trains should be subsidized instead.  

It goes without saying that the cruise ship industry should also be forced to go hybrid and sailing (omnidirectional sails exist)… And also slower. One large cruise ship (ironically made in France) was demonstrated to cause, anchored in Marseilles, France, as much pollution as two million cars. It should be all electric, and if that means nuclear engines, so be it. 

We know, from 99.99% sure paleontological record, and 100% from elementary geographical thermal logic that at 450 ppm CO2, oceans should be 30 meters (100 feet) higher. Now we are already at 500 ppm in CO2 equivalent. However, coronavirus is going to curb the human CO2 input this year (that may help us see how much CO2 augmentation is caused by human activity). Just as with viruses, humanity has been under the belief that this sort of thing happens to others. However, elementary logic and basic geography show we could have a breakup of the iceshileds within a few decades. 

So we need to shut down CO2 production. Air travel was expected to become a most major contributor, within a few years… Instead it’s momentarily shut down. It should not reopen was it used to be. In that respect, thanks, SARS-CoV2! 

Patrice Ayme


Important P/S: The question of why the effect of civilizational sinking into idiocy didn’t happen in Medieval Europe is of the utmost interest; yes, right, it was a close thing. And sinking into ever deeper idiocy is what happened to the Greco-Roman empire. Arguably, much more was thrown at Middle Age Europe, including ecological overload from large populations, the terrible plague of 1348, and the Little Ice Age (which started around 1300 CE, just when all over Europe, population were peaking. A country like France was reaching the relatively enormous population of nearly 20 millions, just when the climate brutally cooled).

So why didn’t “Europe”, the “Renovated” empire didn’t sink into idiocy? After all, it still spoke Latin! It spoke Latin longer than Rome! Well, differently from Rome, Europe’s fascist index was lower than that of Rome. Basically imperial fascist Rome had one potentate, the emperor… who also headed the state religion, starting with Diocletian, Constantine (300 CE). By contrast, after the Carolingian empire breaking into pieces, Europe was in pieces… Sixty of them in Western France (Francia Occidentalis). The ferocious competition between the potentates, especially Paris and London, brought a race to technological superiority. For example, field guns were invented by the southern French to fight the English. But lots of the competition was also in pacific technologies, like textiles…


P/S 2: Aircraft makers, except when working for the military, are part of the “travel industry”, of course… So are hotels, etc. Business jets get subsidies which should be cut right away.