Feeds

back to article Boeing's 'Phantom Eye' Ford Fusion powered stratocraft

US aerospace mammoth Boeing yesterday rolled out its "Phantom Eye" unmanned strato-plane, able to cruise high above the airlanes for up to four days - powered by two ordinary Ford car engines running on hydrogen. The Phantom Eye UAV at its rollout ceremony. Credit: Boeing Just bolt on a couple of Ford Fusion engines and you're …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Coat

I'm assuming this is the USA version of the Ford Fusion

because I don't think the engine in my "Fiesta on stilts" is up to the job....

http://www.ford.co.uk/Cars/Fusion

2
0
Silver badge
Stop

It's as green as Spinal Tap's black album...

...none so green...

Leccy generation in the USofA is still done, to a vast majority, by consumption of fossil fuels, so no hydrogen production, by any stretch of the imagination, can be called green

(Quick reference http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/chg_str_fuel/html/fig25.html)

0
0
Go

Exactly!!

And the same can be said for all electric and hybrid cars since the juice they get to recharge their batteries is produced mostly, nationwide, by burning coal. About 80% comes from coal-fired plants. So unless you can assure yourself you're getting 100% of your electricity from, say, wind, solar or hydro all you're doing is shifting polution from the car's exhaust to the power plant's stacks.

0
0
Boffin

true, but...

using power from the mains tends to be better than burning fuel in your car. Those power plants generate a lot of power v carbon generated (at least compared to your car) and some of it does come from "green" sources.

Though we could always bite the bullet and build some more clean power supplies. You know, nuclear power, none of that uselessly expensive wind/solar/hydro stuff.

3
1
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Yes, but...

"... all you're doing is shifting pollution from the car's exhaust to the power plant's stacks."

Yes thats true, but the power plants stacks are a hell of a lot more efficient. At least a degree of magnitude more efficient usually. So whilst electric cars are not the green wonder that the environmentalists would like you to believe, they do still reduce pollution.

0
1
Silver badge

Re : Yes, but...

"At least a degree of magnitude more efficient usually"

Nonsense !

1
0
Flame

A degree of magnitude?

That must be 1/360th of an order of magnitude, then.

2
0
FAIL

Forget hydrogen, just fuel it with petrol

"At least a degree of magnitude more efficient usually."

Given that a car engine is roughly 25 - 30 % efficient then an order of magnitude would make a power plant 250 - 300 % efficient!?! Power plants are more efficient but then there are losses in transmission, in charging and in storage. Heading up a motorway at constant speed also gives little efficiency advantage to hybrids and electric cars. Their gains come from stop start driving.

Plus why would anyone be bothered with fuelling this thing with tricky expensive hydrogen when easy to handle petrol is everywhere and it is, after all, based on a pair of car engines. The hydrogen is technical complexity with little to no benefit.

0
0
Bronze badge
Boffin

Re: Forget hydrogen, just fuel it with petrol

I think he was talking about the efficiency of the stacks at preventing pullution rather than the efficiency of the power plant itself.

0
1
Silver badge

Re : true, but

The idea that fossil power stations are significantly better than internal combustion engines is just wrong. If you are going to generate hydrogen electrolytically that makes it much worst as the efficiency is ~~50% for that process combined with ~~35% for the electricity generation to give overall efficiencies ~17%.

A good modern turbo diesel is ~~40% ( and yes there are diesel plane engines)

1
0
Coat

Damn!

When i read the headline, I thought that the Phantom Works had not only built a working fusion reactor, but one small enough to be flown.

Mine's the one with a return ticket to Mars in the pocket.

2
0

Fuck Me..

It's a Spermatozoa with wings.

Quick!

Launch the high altitude Barrage Condoms.

1
0
FAIL

LOL,

LOL, 3 years in development is considered pretty fast. Especially for being a 'hybrid' so to speak.

"Blighty's fighter factories haven't built a new plane on their own since the 1960s: all the UK forces' current aircraft are full of imported technology and have been for decades."

Since you guys haven't built anything locally in the UK since the '60's as you said in the other article, reposted above, I don't quite get some of the jibes.

Oh wait, of course. Those who can do, those who can't sit on the sidelines and let their envy dribble out their mouths.

Yeah, Brits getting as bad as the ChiComs with copying more advanced nations. For the record, from the US Airforce itself:

" X-45A

In 1999 Boeing was awarded a demonstration phase contract by DARPA and the USAF. Under the contract, Boeing Phantom Works completed two X-45A demonstrator air vehicles. The roll out ceremony of the first vehicle was in September 2001. The first flight was completed in May 2002."

So, 8 years for you to get a copy going, eh? Crikey, you must be cream crackered after such innovation....

0
4
FAIL

Ahem.....

Have you not heard of TARANIS then ?

0
1

Lol@tehYank

"Since you guys haven't built anything locally in the UK since the '60's as you said in the other article, reposted above, I don't quite get some of the jibes."

Don't get the jibes?

This is El Reg.

Silly Yank.

0
0
Troll

The UK

"Blighty's fighter factories haven't built a new plane on their own since the 1960s"

Yeah, that's something to do with the UK having FRIENDS, so they all club in together. It's a bit like saying "New York state hasn't build a new plane on their own..."

Also the UK is not totally paranoid (well not all of it) from too much acid, so actually trusts the other partner countries to work on stuff together.

One could also argue that the UK doesn't need as many war machines; it doesn't go poking hornets nests as much (although seems to follow along in the background far too often).

2
0
Black Helicopters

No visible means of support or propulsion?

Are we to conclude that this hydrogen-fuelled aerial robot is to be flung off a rather large catapult, or has Mr Boeing developed such an ingenious secret undercarriage that he has to shroud it in black plastic to stop other UAV developers from copying it?

Likewise, why the 'Danger - Propellor' red stripe on the nose when there's no visible prop (or engine pods for that matter)?

Do I sense a 'Let's announce it now and finish it later' mentality?

Black heli-chopper as it's defence and aviation.

0
0

Look a little closer...

...the wings appear to have engine pods, just out of the frame. I'm guessing the red propeller warning stripes are, um, in line with the props maybe?

And a catapult is an entirely reasonable method of launching a craft of this type. There are UAV examples going all the way back to the V-1... not to mention manned ones such as the first Wright Flyer. So what's your problem?

Now, as far as GHG emissions go, surely it's better to be belching out the carbon in the lower troposphere than higher up. This is for the simple reason that low-altitude emissions have more opportunity to dissolve in precipitation, or to be consumed by plants. (I haven't seen too many trees at 15,000 feet......)

Also, hydrogen fueling does present at least the option of solar or wind water-cracking facilities which are not viable options for hydrocarbon fuels.

0
0
Dead Vulture

Wurst Picha Eva

the Red stripe is in line with the prop disc which are to be mounted on wing nacelles the engines are displayed next to the craft but way out of this shot.

This must be one of the worst pictures of a whole aircraft I have ever seen! it might as well just show a single screw. beeb has done much better here:

http://tinyurl.com/BeebPhantomEye

0
0
Boffin

Google is your friend

The engine nacels have been removed from the wings - the wider shot here shows one beside the plane: http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim//2010/07/12/071210PhantomEye01.jpg

Paddy

0
0
Anonymous Coward

yawn

@BILL_ME

Amerryiiieee-ca

0
0

I like it

It has 'danger' written all over it - quite literally.

0
0

Bootnote to the bootnote

Hydrogen is produced completely greenly today in locations where geographical factors mean hydroelectric capacity exceeds population demand. That'll be one small volcanic island off Japan called Yakushima.

Now, all uncle sam has to do is invade to 'free the oppressed locals' and base thir fleet of 4 day sky sperm there.

0
0
Bronze badge
Coat

Re: Yakushima

Isn't that where The Space Sentinels live?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Sentinels

0
0
Silver badge
Flame

A gripe

It's not carbon. It's carbon dioxide. It may seem like a quibble but one is black elemental substance that takes a variety of solid forms and the other is an odourless, colourless gas. Both are absolutely essential for all life on this planet to continue surviving. We could argue forever about the whole glbal warming thing but please, please for the love of GOD please call it by it's proper name. "Carbon" makes people think if sticky black smoke and powdered pencil leads and creates a false image of what is actually being released.

0
0
Silver badge
Welcome

Cyborg plane?

"it’s exciting to be part of such a unique aircraft," said Drew Mallow

I, for one, welcome our human/plane hybrid overlords.

0
0
Boffin

@maclauk

I would guess that they chose hydrogen because of the takeoff weight requirements.

They could have made it into a nasty incendiary weapon if they filled it with di-oxygen di-flouride, affectionately called FOOF or Satan's Kimchi.

http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2010/02/23/things_i_wont_work_with_dioxygen_difluoride.php

Tee hee...its a bit of a good read.

0
0
Flame

Stop bitching about "green" (black) energy!

Whats the point of bitching about green final energy consumers. If you think about it, you have to have the technology in place before you can go green. You can't all one day say "OK WE ALL GO GREEN TODAY, NO MORE COAL FIRED POWERSTATIONS OR PETROL CARS/UNMANNED SPYPLANES" as the technology has to be developed and then scaled up for mass manufacture first. So once we have renewable energy sources (fusion reactors, more solar, wind, tidal and wave power) then things like hydrogen production and electric cars really will be Green. And they'll be green instantly without having to be developed afterwards! Good isn't it? Hope you understand now, so go away and stop your bitching.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.