Det kommersiella elflyget– verklighet eller dröm: En litteraturstudie över elflygets utsikter

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The purpose of this report has been to conduct a literature study to investigate the possibilities for electrifying commercial electric aircraft. Most of the report discusses future battery technology, which is a prerequisite for electrification. We show that the capacity of today’s dominant battery technology, the lithium-ion batteries, is limited. To achieve the energy density required for commercial electric aircraft, new, yet to be commercialized, battery technology is needed. Possible alternatives include lithium-sulfur and lithium-air batteries.

Today’s lithium-ion battery technology enables electric flight of up to four passengers at a distance of at most 300 km. A tripling of today's cell-specific energy to about 800 Wh/kg with a pack-efficiency of 80 percent would allow flights of up to about 1,100 km with an aircraft with 190 passengers in the middle of the century.

The remaining challenges for electric aviation are many. In addition to battery capacity, these include flight speed, the development of more efficient electric aircraft engines, battery costs and the need to intensify research and development of aircraft design. Furthermore, it is important that consumers have confidence in the safety of electric aircraft. Access to the minerals needed for battery production must be assured. Finally, aircraft have a long life span and the system is therefore sluggish.

The study’s conclusion is that large, fully electrified flight is far in the future, if it ever succeeds. On the other hand, we see the potential for a new market for smaller regional flights. Depending on the policy instruments that are directed at the electric aircraft, it could fill a market niche that has largely disappeared today - flights with smaller aircraft to small airports.

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International Cycling Safety Conference

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