The Future of Power in Aviation

Written by: Start Pac

One of the biggest changes coming to aviation in the next few years is how efficiently craft are able to handle power. Airplanes have an extremely heavy work load, and must run for long periods of time when they do function. There is often little down time between flights, so commercial aircraft are surprisingly resilient considering the stress they are put under.

That’s what makes power management so interesting, and so crucial to the development of sustainable air travel.  The portable power pack that gives planes the jumpstart they need to get off the ground is becoming more efficient, requiring less to jumpstart the plane. As efficiency becomes a prime concern for everyone, the way a plane consumes power will ultimately set it apart from its ilk.

Jumpstarting Planes

Not much has changed in the way of jumpstarting planes. Even the connectors that bridge the turbine starting unit to the plane have remained the same year over year. Planes still require that jolt to get the engine turning over once they’ve powered down, but ground crews are completing the task faster. Lithium-ion technology is not standard, yet it is affecting the small number of craft that use batteries made of lithium-ion dramatically.

When a battery receives a charge, some of that electricity is transferred in the form of heat loss. Any transfer of energy tends to generate heat, but newer batters are using more of that electricity and losing less of it. This means that planes can travel farther on a lighter charge.

Other Changes

Lithium ground support equipment also helps improve efficiency out on the tarmac. Lithium packs that hold a charge more efficiently end up helping crews stay mobile. One unit can be split into two smaller lithium packs, helping crews efficiently prep lighter craft before moving onto the larger airliners. Plus, with a recharge time of just four hours, crews can keep their systems working throughout the day without too much down time. Lithium also doesn’t carry the risk of sulfation, which is an affect that you’ve probably seen on your car battery. When the acids in a lead-acid battery mix, they tend to have a reaction that produces corrosive materials. Lithium-ion doesn’t suffer from this issue, so its long term use is more reliable.

Final Thoughts

Lithium-ion, the same technology that powers our laptops and cell phones, is fast becoming the technology that helps us get to where we need to go.