David E. Powell
2019-07-24 17:45:48 UTC
Of course, it is possible that we will see both.
With ducted fans, model aircraft makers seem to have found use for them in recent years:
Meanwhile, the electric propeller drivetrain concept has been making news in Science publications since at least the early 1980s:
The electric light plane concept, aiming for some of the same market as the Tesla Automobile or Volkswagen Electric van, is certainly doable. Could a ducted fan craft, either of Business Jet size or a Jetliner size, be practicable? I would think that the difference between a conventionally powered aircraft on long flights would be a factor - Namely, the conventionally powered aircraft will use fuel over the course of a flight and thus become lighter in weight. This helps with fuel economy as well as range.
Also, I tend to think of the classic Jet, Turbojet or turbofan when it comes to Ducted Fans. How much power could one get from driving one electrically? Burning aviation kerosene generates a lot of power and sets a heck of a benchmark.
There are a lot of hoops to clear to make either of these concepts work commercially. Can they do it? With one or both?
In military terms, an ability to "plug in anywhere" could give a flexibility similar to the ability of some military vehicles to operate on several types of petroleum based fuels: Jet fuel, Kerosene, Gasoline, etc.
Any thoughts, folks? This could be a fun thread.