Monday, March 14, 2011

Hydrogen-Powered Personal Helicopter

Hydrogen Helicopter A personal helicopter weighing just 230 lb created sizzling news when it flew on hydrogen with zero emission. With an ability to carry payloads up to 800 lbs, this pocket Hercules can fly for 90 minutes. Fitted with easy controls, this reaches a speed of 100 knots thanks to a pair of small yet powerful motors mounted on it. Two common and easily available things – Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and a catalyst – combined to bring about a milestone in personal aviation history with attention to the environmental issues as well! Avimech has combined these two to power engine in to an innovative machine.

YouTube: Avimech Dragonfly | More Videos

A unique combination:
Avimech has combined two ideas – a rocket and a helicopter – to create this cute little personal aviation machine baptizing it as ‘Dragonfly.’ Actually this idea to utilize H2O2 and a catalyst has been around for some time. But to use them to power this hybrid version of a rocket in a helicopter is the brain child of Avimech.

Motors at rotor tips:
There are two powerful small motors fitted at rotor tips which resemble rocket nozzles. These nozzles propel the rotors getting power from the reaction of H2O2 with the catalyst. There is no gearbox. There are two fuel tanks to store H2O2. The H2O2 reacts with the catalyst in the rocket nozzles and the reaction powers the rotor nozzles which sets the rotor tips in high-speed motion.

Common ingredients:
Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is very safe environmentally and easily available chemical. Usually printing presses are cleaned with H2O2. This commercial-grade H2O2 is diluted and used in the rotor nozzles. The reaction of H2O2 with the catalyst produces the high pressure which sets the blades into motion.

A simple but great machine:
The motors are 8-inch long and they can generate 102 hp which helps the aircraft peak a speed of 100 knots. The H2O2 is diluted to about 50-70%. And when the catalyst reacts with the H2O2, only water vapor gets released and no other harmful emission occurs.

“(ERA) helicopter:”
Acclaimed as the first ever created environmentally responsible aviation (ERA) helicopter, Dragonfly certainly deserves this epithet. Emitting nothing but water vapor and running on only hydrogen- an environmentally safe fuel, this helicopter does not pollute the space with harmful emissions like carbon.

Future plans?
This hydrogen-powered, zero-carbon-emission environmentally friendly but expensive helicopter has been the brainchild of Ricardo Cavalcanti of Avimech. Though at present the engines are not fuel-efficient – guzzling 11 gallons of fuel per hour, the day may not be far off when this is also rectified and a perfect eco-friendly personal aviation machine may be available.

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