Boeing Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research (SUGAR)
|July 2, 2012||Posted by Jack Cole under Boeing, General Electric, NASA|
A paper prepared under contract for NASA by a team from Boeing Research and Technology, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, General Electric, and Georgia Tech, gives LENR serious consideration as a possible power source for an utlra-green aircraft. The work group considered several different power sources, and among these were LENR. LENR was considered high risk because of its current state in terms of viable commercial offerings, but was also seen as having tremendous possibilities. The paper was prepared for NASA’s Langley Research Center, which raises a possible connection to Bushnell and Zawodny. Readers may recall that the video animation in Zawodny’s most recent video suggested the possibility of LENR-powered flight.
Here is the first notable conclusion in the paper regarding LENR:
Concept 8 (LENR) had the same issue with being able to draw the boundary on energy. The
group identified that the LENR concept could have tremendous benefits, but the technical risks
are extremely high. Lastly, Concept 9 (turboprop) also showed some benefit over the N+4
reference concept, but the group identified that a low noise propeller design was needed. The
team then compared the three concepts side by side and concluded:
• LENR nuclear has important advantages, but extremely high risk – if it works,
revolutionary to World energy
• DP distributed propulsion is enhancing to multiple concepts if it works as advertised
• TP turboprop scorers were worried about noise
And more here:
As a result of the Onsite breakout team, the group provided the scores and rankings (with risk
included) of each concept to the larger group as depicted in Figure 2.10. During the outbrief,
the Onsite team suggested the possibility of a hybrid between concepts 4, 7, and 8 might be a
viable option. The Onsite team also identified the LENR concept as the highest payoff, but with
an associate high risk. (emphasis mine)
What is remarkable and pleasing is that LENR is rated as having the highest potential payoff. It is gratifying for it to receive the credibility to warrant further study from the group, and I also find the conclusion that LENR is high risk (in terms of being able to be commercialized) to hold some weight. We have yet to have a product on the market (other than Rossi’s secret customer), where the potential of LENR can be practically demonstrated.
The group recommended the following with respect to LENR going forward:
As a result of the workshop recommendations, a number of side studies were identified to help
the group conclude on a possible N+4 concept to pass to the higher fidelity analysis. The group
called these inspiration ideas that composed a wish list of research that could possibly be
conducted within the scope of the current SOW:
• Study to set goals
• Watch tech feasibility and development
• Investigate system architecture options
• Develop baseline system design and system performance targets
The potential of LENR in an ultra-green aircraft is discussed at some length, and various configurations are considered (e.g., ground based systems for generating hydrogen, LENR system on the aircraft coupled with a heat engine, and hybrid systems for using LENR in flight but another system for takeoff).
This would appear to be good news for LENR going forward in that there is a growing awareness of LENR at NASA and now Boeing and GE. Hopefully, some of the existing players such as Andrea Rossi, Brillouin Energy, or Blacklight Power can deliver a commercial product before some of the heavy hitters can get there. That would be nice as these groups have had the courage to blaze the trail forward with little support, and a lot of disdain and antipathy, from a large portion of the scientific establishment. That said, it would be a good thing for humanity to have this technological advancement regardless of who gets there first.