A new European partnership will aim to ensure that graphene supercapacitor technology powers the next generation of large, heavy-lift airships for industrial applications in China and France. Skeleton Technologies will join French firm Flying Whales’ programme to build a 60-ton Large Capacity Airship, or LCA60T, for the global transport market.
Skeleton Technologies will join the programme to help design and build hybrid propulsion for the LCA60T’s electric power systems. Average operational power is expected to be approximately 1.5 MW with the company’s graphene-based supercapacitors assisting to cover the additional 2 MW peaks for hovering, lifting and stabilization in reasonable and turbulent environments.
The main advantage of the LCA60T will be its ability to transport heavy and over-sized cargo of up to 60 tons either in its 75m-long hold or underslung, at speeds of 100 km/h, with a range of several thousand kilometers per day. The helium-filled, rigid-structure airship will be capable of winching to pick up and unload cargo while hovering, at a fraction of the cost of a heavy-lift helicopter, and for much heavier loads. Without the need to make conventional takeoffs and landings, energy consumption via its hybrid electric propulsion system will be low.