Robert Walther
Since I cannot do exponential exponents in my head, I had to use a calculator to figure that 150lbs is of a loaded 787. This disastrous weight gain will invalidate the entire Boeing air fleet. Now that a 787 can only fly 8997.3+/- miles of a planned 9000 mile journey, I recommend not only the immediate bankruptcy and foreclosure of all Boeing facilities, but also the total elimination of all air travel anywhere on the planet. The 787 is a ridiculous aircraft. The rate at which the 787s fall unpredictably from the sky requires that a man, possibly a freelance playwright, should walk beneath the 787 waving a red flag to warn pedestrians of imminent falling sky, chicken optional.
James Poch
"the same heating problems that have plagued such batteries in laptops and electric cars can also effect aircraft". Electric cars have not been plagued with anything other than the mishandling of crashed equipment. Of the 70,000 OEM electric vehicles on the road, I am not aware of any fires taking place while on the road. The only incident that I am aware is when testers at the NHTSA forgot to discharge the batteries of damaged Chevy Volts. In storage, days or weeks later, the damaged Chevy Volts caught fire because the batteries weren't discharged much like they emptied gas tanks prior to storage. This mishandling is hardly a problem that can be replicated in a real world scenario. Unless, someone is trapped in a car for two weeks but my guess is they will die of dehydration before damaged batteries catch on fire.
@ rgwalther: Gee dude - who, or what, pushed your button? Calm down :)
This is a good article, largely quoting from a Boeing press release and not (at all) adding the lots of bull and hog, like you would find on superstyle Gizmodo kind of websites.
Thanks for the good work, and keep it right up, David!
The question I have is, "What is the new weight differential between the new battery packs and the power equivalent battery packs using the old battery type?"
This may suffice for awhile, but I won't trust ANY lithium battery until the chemistry has been altered to insure that overheating and fire have become non-issues. Work is progressing on this ... does anyone know it's current status?
Mel Tisdale
There is one aircraft that has an APU that is purely fan driven. It hinges down into the airstream somewhere near the tail in an emergency. That has always struck me as a sensible solution to power loss when airborne. I suppose that there are objections to it, otherwise it would be more widely used.
As for the Dreamliner, I think I will wait a year or two. If by then, none have fallen out of the sky as a result of the new technology it employs having failed in some way, then I will consider flying on one. Until then, others can provide the necessary crasth test dummies.
@ James Poch: You may be correct about electric cars not having had similar issues. As far as I know a lot of electric cars use Nickel Manganese Cobalt batteries which are a completely different technology altogether.
@WagTheDog: Current aircraft batteries are either Lead Acid or Nickel Cadmium (NiCd). The NiCd's are more common in aircraft AFAIK. I don't know about the status of altering the lithium battery composition other than what's in this article, but NiCd's can definitely overheat and catch fire just as easily. Just Google NiCad Thermal Runaway. Trust me, I maintain and service aircraft NiCd batteries for a living!
@funglestrupet: the fan driven APU is a good idea for emergencies, but you still need a normal jet powered APU for ground operations. The APU provides the power to the aircraft while on the ground before the flight, to power the lights, air-conditioning, and cockpit power to allow the pilots to do their pre-flight checks and enter their flight path into the flight management computer etc etc.
I've been using LiPo batteries for model planes, and I don't trust them any further than I can throw them. I hope that Boeing only understands these batteries as an interim solution until the technology is less risky (other than using "electrical insulation tape" to make everything safe). Saving on weight is one thing, risking air crew & pax's lives is another. The 787 is a beautiful design, I hope it won't have to be grounded again. P.S.: "funglestrumpet" referred to the RAT emergency power unit that pops out of the fuselage of some Airbus models in case of in-flight electrical failure, see . This has already saved many lives, in conjunction with exceptional pilot skills. See .
I'll wait a year or more before I get on one of those things.
Pecos Pete
I wonder if these batteries are pressurized to negate the different pressures at different altitudes?