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Boeing Hydrogen Powered Drone First Flight

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the eco-friendly-spying-program dept.

Robotics 160

garymortimer writes with news of the test flight of a hydrogen powered UAV. From the article: "Phantom Eye's innovative and environmentally responsible liquid-hydrogen propulsion system will allow the aircraft to stay on station for up to four days while providing persistent monitoring over large areas at a ceiling of up to 65,000 feet, creating only water as a byproduct. The demonstrator, with its 150-foot wingspan, is capable of carrying a 450-pound payload."

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Let me guess (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215219)

Those 450 pounds won't be flowers and kittens, right?

Re:Let me guess (2)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215241)

Well maybe they would be Kill Kittens? A fun little encounter in Arduin.

Damn am I showing my age and ....

http://mrlizard.com/dungeons-and-dragons/dungeons-and-dragons-4th-edition/kill-kittens/ [mrlizard.com]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arduin [wikipedia.org]

Nyou-kee-lar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215639)

Mainstream media has one unwritten rule: if you can correctly pronounce "nuclear", you will not be allowed on the air.

I can't be the only one to notice.

Re:Nyou-kee-lar (3, Funny)

scottrocket (1065416) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215867)

It's pronounced "Nuke-u-ler"; the "s" is silent.

Re:Nyou-kee-lar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216391)

It's pronounced "Nuke-u-ler"; the "s" is silent.

It's really easy for a letter to be silent when it's not in the word at all!

Re:Nyou-kee-lar (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216427)

It's pronounced "Nuke-u-ler"; the "s" is silent.

It's really easy for a letter to be silent when it's not in the word at all!

So you think. It's so good at being silent that you don't even know it's there. It's what's known to orthography researchers as a "ninja letter". Very rare. Well, we think it's rare, because since it's a ninja, we can't tell for sure if it exists or not.

Re:Nyou-kee-lar (1)

able1234au (995975) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216991)

fnord en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fnord

Killing people and destroying property = Big $ (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216399)

Killing people and destroying their property, and making things to do that, is one of the biggest businesses in the United States.

Re:Let me guess (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217141)

Cats. The real silent killers...

Re:Let me guess (1)

sanman2 (928866) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215317)

Only in the ponyverse

Re:Let me guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215829)

Only in the ponyverse

Nope. [youtube.com] With the discovery of relativity [ponysquare.com] (actual screengrab from season 2 episode 20 with Lorentz tranformations) and the completion of the Manehattan Project [youtube.com] , the ponies also have nukes [youtube.com] .

Re:Let me guess (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215337)

Since it is called "Phantom Eye" and it "provides persistent monitoring", it seems like cameras would be a good bet.

Re:Let me guess (-1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216597)

There's a rumor going around that a small radio station in Cincinatti rented one of theae for a marketing stunt in November. The CEO has been tight-lipped on the matter.

Bomb strapped to a bomb? (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215235)

Isn't this kind of like strapping a bomb to a bomb? All that hydrogen could make one hell of a detonator if the folks involved aren't careful.

Re:Bomb strapped to a bomb? (5, Informative)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215279)

One of the coolest things about Hydrogen is that at the pressures required to keep it liquid at room temp, it is a supercritical fluid, which means it is both liquid and gas.

What makes this cool is that, upon loss of the pressure that is keeping it liquid, it will spontaneously switch to its gaseous state. And, this change is not mediated at all since a supercritical fluid has no heat of vaporization.

In other words, the fuel source works at all temperatures, even the -50C found at altitude, without requiring an external source of heat.

Of course, the bad part happens when there's an accident, and hundreds of gallons of supercritical H2 suddenly become several hundred thousand cubic meters of H2 gas, which is not exactly what you want to have around when there's a lot of energy being dissipated by mangling metal.

Re:Bomb strapped to a bomb? (0)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215365)

Hydrogen cannot be kept liquid at room temperature, or indeed above 33 Kelvin.

Re:Bomb strapped to a bomb? (4, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215885)

Which is why under enough pressure it becomes a super critical liquid.

Re:Bomb strapped to a bomb? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216393)

If it is under pressure it can. This is why you have to pressurize it. You don't cool it to 33 Kelvin, you put it under enough pressure so that it becomes a liquid at room temperature. When you release that pressure it absorbs heat and becomes cold. While under pressure it can certainly be at room temperature. This is pretty fundamental stuff that a 6 digit UID should know.

Re:Bomb strapped to a bomb? (1)

MajorBlunder (114448) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215599)

Every aircraft with a gas tank could be considered a bomb by that logic. While I don't know the exact composition of regular jet fuel, I'm pretty sure it is just as combustible as pure hydrogen if not more so.

Re:Bomb strapped to a bomb? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215669)

Every aircraft with a gas tank could be considered a bomb by that logic.

Well yeah, the terrorists sure thought so. Somehow they even left traces of thermite from regular jet fuel. That takes work.

While I don't know the exact composition of regular jet fuel, I'm pretty sure it is just as combustible as pure hydrogen if not more so.

Man, if only there was a web site where you could trivially look up such things in much less time than it took to write your post. Ah, well. Perhaps one day there will be. Until then, we can dream. We can always dream.

Re:Bomb strapped to a bomb? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216173)

Traces of thermite... You mean rust and aluminum? I find it hard to imagine that a plane made almost entirely of aluminum crashing into steel beams would leave traces of rust and aluminum!

Re:Bomb strapped to a bomb? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215911)

The difference is that jet fuel spills while super critical hydrogen instantly transforms into a huge volume of explosive gas. Even without an ignition source the escaping gas can cause massive damage. Add those together and one gets a huge explosion.

Re:Bomb strapped to a bomb? (1)

davydagger (2566757) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216159)

not true.

Jets use a high grade version of diesel known as JP-8, which like diesel has a very high resistance to detonation. Hence why most military vehicles use it. Its harder to be ignited with bullets and explosions common in war.

Then we have explosive material C-4 which is stable as a rock and extremely hard to set off, which is great for soliders who need to carry it in a ruck suck. the blasting caps that are used to set C-4 off have a much much mucher lower resistance to detonation, yet lower yieid.

explosion potential(total potential amount for energy from explosion) and reactivty of explosives are two diffrent unrelated measures. Hydrogen is known to "just go boom" at lot. Gasoline and Diesel less so.

Re:Bomb strapped to a bomb? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216095)

Isn't that what you want it to do in case it gets captured by the Iranians again?

Re:Bomb strapped to a bomb? (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216927)

If you really don't want it captured by the Iranians you could simply not fly it over Iran.

We're rich!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215251)

Water as a by-product!? We can make it rain I tells ya! We just need enough of these. So we'll have to charge 50 times GDP. But that's okay the desperate farmers will pay. To offset the costs we can write a play and musical about it!

So It's Come To This. (4, Insightful)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215263)

Environmentally-responsible airplane that can also carry a wicked-heavy bomb....*sigh*

Re:So It's Come To This. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215289)

What if it used a hydrogen bomb? Wouldn't that be more environmentally friendly?

Re:So It's Come To This. (1)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215383)

Without the fusion detonator, and excluding the giant crater where Elbonia used to be, yes!

Re:So It's Come To This. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215697)

Without the fusion detonator, and excluding the giant crater where Elbonia used to be, yes!

Elbonia? Hey I remember that! It's near Wristvania.

Re:So It's Come To This. (2)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215297)

Hmm, "Phantom Eye", provides "persistent monitoring". Yep, sounds like a bomber.

Re:So It's Come To This. (1)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215415)

Hmm, "Phantom Eye", provides "persistent monitoring". Yep, sounds like a bomber.

Uhhh, yeah... The demonstrator, with its 150-foot wingspan, is capable of carrying a 450-pound payload.

Re:So It's Come To This. (4, Insightful)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215445)

So 'payload' means bomb? Since when? And do people really think you could make the bomb-carrying mechanism, bomb doors, and a bomb all fit in under 450 pounds?

The payload is cameras and associated equipment.

Re:So It's Come To This. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215663)

True, you're right. This device isn't likely to carry bombs. However, from TFA:

“While Phantom Eye is important for many reasons, future ISR, strike and bomber programs also will benefit from the technologies we are developing and maturing for our customers,” said [Boeing Phantom Works president Darryl] Davis.

Re:So It's Come To This. (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215939)

I think Kevin Smith is still under 450 lbs, and he's created a few bombs.

Re:So It's Come To This. (2)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216059)

And do people really think you could make the bomb-carrying mechanism, bomb doors, and a bomb all fit in under 450 pounds?

Easily [inetres.com] .

Re:So It's Come To This. (1)

Chewbacon (797801) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216569)

I'm not a chemist, but isn't hydrogen pretty freaking flammable? Makes a nice incendiary weapon.

Re:So It's Come To This. (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216941)

So 'payload' means bomb? Since when?

Since the Bulgarians invented aerial bombardment, I suppose.

Re:So It's Come To This. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40217149)

according to wikipedia a Hellfire missile is 100-108 pounds.
So you could mount 4 under the wings without problem.

Re:So It's Come To This. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215471)

More like "environmentally-responsible airplane" for spying on "citizens".

Re:So It's Come To This. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215881)

On the plus side, tinfoil is already made with hydro power - so your hat is good to go.

Re:So It's Come To This. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215921)

And what exactly makes something that puts out water vapour (a greenhouse gas must stronger than CO2) more responsible than CO2?

Re:So It's Come To This. (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215937)

I think you need to look up the definition of "wicked-heavy". 450 pounds is not very heavy at all considering that if an f-15e had enough hard points it could carry 50 of them. The drone is a spotter not a .bomber. Most of that payload will be sensors.

Re:So It's Come To This. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216165)

For whatever reason, somebody was shameless enough to start talking about 'environmentally friendly'(because if there is anything that war isn't...); but the fact that some of the more forward-thinking DoD types might want to be able to still move if their supply of diesel gets cut off isn't a huge surprise.

Incidents like this one [cbsnews.com] , make the effective price per gallon look substantially higher than domestic pump rate...

Re:So It's Come To This. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216511)

If their supply of diesel is cut off, do you really expect them to have a supply of hydrogen, which is refined from natural gas? (It can be made in other ways, but this is how it is done.)

Re:So It's Come To This. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216789)

It can be made in other ways

I suspect that's the main point; you can convert almost any hydrocarbon to hydrogen; converting one hydrocarbon fuel to another is a bit more involved.

Re:So It's Come To This. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216195)

Environmentally responsible my ass! Where do you think that crapload of hydrogen comes from? It's produced from several craploads of steam reformed natural gas, by which process several other craploads of CO2 are emitted. And even some of the poisonous CO. The entire "environmentally-friendly" hydrogen concept is plain bullshit. This is just greenwash to make the military more likable in the eyes of the tree huggers.

Re:So It's Come To This. (1)

Aviation Pete (252403) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216699)

Environmentally-responsible airplane that can also carry a wicked-heavy bomb....*sigh*

Trust me, bombs will still be delivered by high-speed vehicles. This plane is for observation, so the bomber knows where to drop its load. Environmentally-friendly observation, that is.

Innovative Murder (-1, Flamebait)

jgdobak (119142) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215303)

I guess The US will be innovative and environmentally responsible now when they bomb weddings and murder children.

Water as a by-product (2)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215327)

Are they going to use them for watering the crops or something?

Re:Water as a by-product (4, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215401)

If by 'watering' you mean 'bombing' and by 'crops' you mean 'insurgents' then officially 'no'.

Re:Water as a by-product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215483)

Mod up. This is hilarious.

But realistically yes. (1)

zedtwitz (2450246) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215517)

I'd mod up if I had points, but I don't. Mod 'em up!

Re:But realistically yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216417)

Mod parent down, you don't need someone telling you how to use mod points!

Re:Water as a by-product (2)

StormyWeather (543593) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215641)

450 lbs of bombs... are you on something brain inhibiting?

Re:Water as a by-product (1, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215589)

"Are they going to use them for watering the crops or something?"

Google "Chemtrails".

Pleasant dreams.

Re:Water as a by-product (1)

Flere Imsaho (786612) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215947)

"Are they going to use them for watering the crops or something?"

Google "Chemtrails".

Pleasant dreams.

So watering crop circles then?

Re:Water as a by-product (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216475)

So watering crop circles then?

Yeah, crop circles in the sky [hyperlogos.org] . But if anyone tries to tell me that the purpose of chemtrails is to communicate with ancient aliens I will have to pee on their boots.

Green death (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215347)

The irony is... is.... unspeakable.

Re:Green death (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215477)

Its quite speakable.

Also, think about it a little bit. Its not polluting to the environment, and is capable of killing a mammal that has caused extensive damage to the environment.

I see it as a win-win.

Re:Green death (2, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215645)

Actually, if you read the rhetoric of the far-left environmentalists, its not ironic at all.

Yay! Creating only water as a byproduct! (0)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215375)

It only creates water as a byproduct! It's so clean! So innovative! So environmentally responsible! Luckily, liquid hydrogen can be found anywhere! No need to burn any of those nasty fossil fuels or evil nookyaler things, no sir! This is the real deal! Clean, clean, clean! Next stop, The Hydrogen Economy [energybulletin.net] !

Re:Yay! Creating only water as a byproduct! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216191)

Given the, at best limited, ability of anti-nuclear lobbyists to do much of anything about the nuclear navy, I suspect that defense types have some very clear ideas about where they plan to find a source of electricity next to a large supply of water...

The Hydrogen Luddites (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216617)

People have a problem with how hydrogen is produced now, while ignoring that as technology progresses it will solve storage and generation issues like the one mentioned. For some reason they cannot imagine that processes and materials will continue to be improved.

The simple truth is that hydrogen is readily abundant, and that fueling will always be faster than transferring the equivalent amount of energy via electrical transfer.

Hydrogen will win the end, we just don't know how yet... but its victory over other alternative fuels is there to see for those who think about the future.

Re:Yay! Creating only water as a byproduct! (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216721)

Liquid hydrogen has long been used as a rocket propellant (including the Saturn V upper stage) and environmental impact has nothing to do with it. Liquid hydrogen has triple [wikipedia.org] the specific energy density of jet fuel, which is awfully handy for pushing the limits of endurance.

Environmentally friendly? (0)

magarity (164372) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215405)

What does it take to get that liquid hydrogen in the first place. I bet this is as environmentally friendly as the process to make all the batteries in hybrid vehicles.

Re:Environmentally friendly? (1, Informative)

cduffy (652) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215473)

What does it take to get that liquid hydrogen in the first place. I bet this is as environmentally friendly as the process to make all the batteries in hybrid vehicles.

Funny thing -- the higher-end batteries (NiCd, LiPO) aren't all that environmentally unfriendly. It's the cheap lead-acid ones (which happen to be widely used in Chinese electric scooters) that are pretty nasty.

And what it takes... really depends on the approach taken. I mean, splitting hydrogen out from water is something I'd expect every child who graduated primary school to have done in science class, though there's been plenty of work on more efficient approaches. (Not that it doesn't require plenty of energy... but again, that's a matter of where folks choose to get that energy from; if it's solar, hydro, responsible nuclear, &c...)

Re:Environmentally friendly? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215999)

uhh, you do realize that in the real world, splitting water creates either caustic soda or brown's gas, not clean hydrogen and oxygen, and is horribly inefficient. Hydrogen in commercial quantities is created by hitting hydrocarbons with steam to strip the hydrogen off. This is not carbon neutral in any way.

Re:Environmentally friendly? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216521)

splitting water creates either caustic soda or brown's gas, not clean hydrogen and oxygen, and is horribly inefficient

Caustic soda is a valuable product, and we have electrical power going to waste at night in this country. Your point about hydrogen in commercial quantities being made from hydrocarbons is well-taken though (I would say that, since I've been making that point elsewhere in this thread.)

And what's wrong with that process? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215479)

Do you have something you could cite or are you blowing an old talking point out your ass?

Great! (4, Funny)

BitHive (578094) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215443)

Is the facility where these violations of our privacy are orchestrated going to be solar powered?

Water at altitude (0)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215463)

Good thing it only produces water (con trails) at altitude - those don't have any effect. At high altitude it would be better to burn coal so the result is just CO2 which doesn't seed clouds and reflect sunlight. Anyone got a coal powered aircraft?

Re:Water at altitude (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215511)

Actually Coal will also release water. Simple example: CH4 + 2 O2 -> CO2 + 2 H2O
Yes its methane but you get the point. Fossil fuels create CO2 and water.

Re:Water at altitude (1)

slew (2918) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216301)

Actually Coal will also release water. Simple example: CH4 + 2 O2 -> CO2 + 2 H2O
Yes its methane but you get the point. Fossil fuels create CO2 and water.

Ignoring the fact for a moment the high temperatures it takes to burn real "anthracite" coal which would probably make it impractical for a light weight drone, burning coal is mostly C + O2 -> CO2 (and some carbon monoxide). The problem with coal is not that it has much Hydrogen in it (which would be volatile gases like hydrocarbons dissolved like Cannel Coal or residual sugars from organic molecules), but most coal has lots of Sulfur which makes acid rain. Whatever hydrogen there is in coal usually doesn't make water, it often makes phenols (carbolic acid) and other benzene ring compounds due to high heat and insufficient oxidation. Also the high temperatures also cause secondary reactions with the nitrogen in the air to make various fun nitrogen oxides which are great for smog...

Automobile (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215505)

When will the technology of this UAV trickle down to automakers?

I'd love to drive a bomb.

if I recall -- HEAT is the other major byproduct (2)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215507)

Along with water, isn't there quite a bit of heat produced as part of the fuel cell process? It would seem to me that this may take away some of the stealth benefits, no?

Re:if I recall -- HEAT is the other major byproduc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215825)

Along with water, isn't there quite a bit of heat produced as part of the fuel cell process? It would seem to me that this may take away some of the stealth benefits, no?

From the Wikipedia article:

> Each of the two propulsion systems consist of modified Ford 2.3 liter engines, reduction gearbox, and 4-blade propeller. The engines were originally designed for use with the some models of the petrol-burning Ford Fusion car. To be able to run in the oxygen starved atmosphere at 65,000 ft, the engines feature a multiple turbocharger system that compresses that available low density air and reduces the radiated infrared heat signature to increase its stealth properties.

> The engines, which provide 150 horsepower at sea level, have been tuned so as to be able to run on hydrogen. The Boeing marketing department states that this will make the aircraft economical and “green” to run, as the only by-product will be water.

I'm calling bs on the water-only claim. Combustion at high temperature and pressure (in an engine) also produces NOx (Nitrogen Oxides) from the nitrogen in the air, see, for example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NOx [wikipedia.org]

Ortho and para hydrogen (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215587)

Look up ortho and para hydrogen. Here is a quote from the Wikipedia article. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin_isomers_of_hydrogen "If orthohydrogen is not removed from liquid hydrogen, the heat released during its decay can boil off as much as 50% of the original liquid[5]." This is a demonstration of quantum mechanical effects on a macro scale.

environmentally responsible drone??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215711)

ROFLMAO! you silly Slashtards! a 'green' drone?

another level of indirection (0)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215733)

"producing only water as exhaust"

of course that hydrogen had to come from somewhere. and it wasnt kitten farts. same with 'electric cars' - it has to come from somewhere.

they are taking the CS approach. stick another 'intermediary layer', until there are so many layers nobody can tell what came from where, when or how it got there or why.

"so it burns hydrogen that got created as a byprocess of petrochemical activity, probably hydraulic fracturing of methane which is controversial because it causes water table pollution that is almost un-recoverable"

--"yes, but the only exhaust is water! its green!"

"and it carries guided missiles that an increasingly smaller group of civilians inside the whitehouse use to target a secret list of secret enemies, and kill them without trial or accountability of any kid"

--"yes, and its very aerodynamic! also it uses the latest composite materials!"

Re:another level of indirection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215833)

"producing only water as exhaust"...

Calling bs on this, combustion at high temperature and pressure (in an engine) also produces NOx from the nitrogen in the air.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NOx [wikipedia.org] unless anyone has a reference with proof other wise...

How does it land?? (1)

krelvin (771644) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215741)

Saw the video of it taking off.. was on a cart until lift off leaving the only obvious wheels behind. So how does it land? didn't see anything on the page about that.

Re:How does it land?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215811)

How does it land? Very carefully.

Re:How does it land?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216109)

FTA: It lands by breaking its gear digging into the lakebed

Re:How does it land?? (1)

Aviation Pete (252403) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216657)

Saw the video of it taking off.. was on a cart until lift off leaving the only obvious wheels behind. So how does it land? didn't see anything on the page about that.

Given that 4 days worth of fuel will add a lot to the mass of the plane, the gear is designed for the landing mass only, thus being much lighter than one capable to carry the take-off weight. The cart adds some handling complexity, but this seems to be worth the mass savings.

Enviromentally way to spy on you (1)

davydagger (2566757) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216189)

Looks like they've found an enviromentally way to turn us more into a police state by tracking you MORE.

but hey, its politically correct now because its "enviromentalist".

California uber alles indeed. oh, its related. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UW8UlY8eXCk&feature=related [youtube.com]

Excellent Job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216219)

A marvelous achievement, spectacular success. :D

Someone needs to ask the obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216261)

Why this and not some sort of lighter then air craft for long duration non-bomb-dropping missions?

one question... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216287)

When do I get my flying car?

Hydrogen is not carbon-neutral (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216293)

All these shenanigans about Hydrogen being a perfectly clean fuel ignores the fact of where it comes from.

We don't get hydrogen from splitting water. That costs too much. We get it from natural gas, which has 1 carbon atom and 4 hydrogen atoms. This is done by steam reforming, and while it's possible to sequester the resulting CO2 by injecting it underground, it's not done by anyone. Because, again, it costs money.

We can also get it from coal, after conversion to "town gas" and that's not the cleanest of processes either.

Yes, I'm jaded. I used to be a true believer in this stuff, then I read more and grew up.

--
BMO

Re:Hydrogen is not carbon-neutral (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216529)

while it's possible to sequester the resulting CO2 by injecting it underground

[citation needed]

So far this has had occasionally hilarious results...

Re:Hydrogen is not carbon-neutral (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216763)

So far this has had occasionally hilarious results..

I said it's possible. The science is sound. The technology is expensive to develop, however.

You didn't read further where I said nobody does it because of cost.

--
BMO

Re:Hydrogen is not carbon-neutral (1)

orzetto (545509) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217105)

Here comes another Slashdot pundit who thinks he's the first to contemplate the obvious... I would mod you down but there is no one who responded to mod up in response, so here it goes.

We don't get hydrogen from splitting water. That costs too much.

That depends on your source of energy. If you have a windmill producing electricity irregularly, you can use hydrogen as a buffer. This is not rocket science, there are PhD these completed on the subject almost 10 years ago [diva-portal.org] .

[...] while it's possible to sequester the resulting CO2 by injecting it underground, it's not done by anyone. Because, again, it costs money.

And guess what people do, exactly that [energy-pedia.com] . How so? If you fart CO2 into the environment, the government makes you pay a tax, since you are externalising your problem to the rest of the world. So yes, they actually make money on it.

Why Hydrogen you ask? (5, Informative)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216313)

While hydrogen sucks for density per volume at 5.6 MJ/liter versus gasoline at 34 MJ/liter, it's actually has good energy density by weight with 123 MJ/kg versus gasoline at 47 MJ/kg. The huge bulbous body of this thing is simply to store all the fuel. I suspect their main reason for going hydrogen was that it's easier to burn at high altitude and has a wide useable fuel/air ratio.

This low energy density per volume, is also the reason why it can't really be used for trucking. You'd take up half of the usable cargo room just to get the equivalent amount of energy as a normal diesel fill.

Re:Why Hydrogen you ask? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216497)

This low energy density per volume, is also the reason why it can't really be used for trucking. You'd take up half of the usable cargo room just to get the equivalent amount of energy as a normal diesel fill.

That's not really true, but you would need larger tanks (at least twice as large) and they would be vastly more expensive than the metal cans hanging on the sides of the typical semi tractor. Diesel fuel is also astoundingly non-risky stuff to be transporting in large quantities, and it's unclear where on the vehicle you'd put hydrogen storage tanks that would not be horribly dangerous; not to mention that the weight would pretty much have to be located higher up.

In any case, Hydrogen is probably being used to support the fracking industry. We make our hydrogen by expensively cracking natural gas, rather than using excess base load from power plants to produce it at night. We get more natural gas by fracking, which is being pushed hard right now. Military contractors serve the needs of the military and the military serves the government which is in the hands of corporatists. QED.

This is basically Boeing Condor, Mk II (2)

Aviation Pete (252403) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216681)

I am surprised that no poster so far mentioned the Boeing Condor [slashdot.org] . Same layout, same propulsion concept, same mission, only a different fuel this time. I guess some guys at Boeing never stopped working on this plane.

Ha (1)

SvenLee (2624751) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216697)

When do I get my flying car?

Five Nines (1)

fragMasterFlash (989911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216707)

I, for one, am rather disappointed to see autonomous spy capabilities within spitting distance of 99.999 percent uptime when the average consumer smartphone becomes a glossy brick within 5 hours of being disconnected from the power grid.

Might not be as environmentally sound as you think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216971)

Everyone wants to pretend that the burning of hydrogen is as clean as can be... but it is that ONLY if the burning is done with the right mix ratio, and doesn't also produce other possible products, like hydroxide ions in the water, hydrogen peroxide, etc...

But mainly, there isn't hydrogen gas just hanging around, you have to generate it, which takes power, and compress it, which takes power, and the storage tanks, if pressurized, will make the whole system less efficient because they have to be able to withstand great pressure differentials, and thus will probably be fairly heavy, and that weight doesn't change much even as the tank empties. Remember that if they expect to operate at 65,000 feet, the outside atmospheric pressure is much lower at that altitude, which means an even higher differential of pressure than what you find on the ground.

If the source of the power used to extract hydrogen (from say... water) and the power used to compress it is not clean, then NEITHER IS THE PLANE, even if the only product it makes is water... all you've done is moved the pollution-belching tailpipe somewhere else, just as with rechargeable electric cars.

Also, I have to wonder, why not supplement that hang time with solar cells, or does it do that already? I didn't see where in the article it mentioned if they have solar cells... or how about a balloon to hold it up once it gets in position, then it could hang for weeks, or even months.

Surprised that it's a cable-braced wing (1)

Thagg (9904) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216985)

I was really surprised to see that this Phantom Eye has a cable-braced wing, that it's not a cantilever wing like every other large-span plane built in the last 80 years. Granted, it makes a lot of sense structurally -- long span cantilever wings have to be built very strong at the root, as the bending stresses are enormous -- but still, it's a surprise to see.

Boeing's Sugar Volt is a proposed hybrid electric/diesel commuter plane with a strut-braced wing -- so Boeing is apparently thinking outside the box on a number of concepts.

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