Feeds

Massive new AIRSHIP to enter commercial service at British dirigible base

UK designers buy baby back from broke US Army

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Seventy per cent greener?

It's true, vessels along Airlander lines are quieter than jets when you're standing next to them. But when you're standing on the ground, ducted props driven by Centurion V8s at a few thousand feet wouldn't be as quiet as a cargo jet at stratospheric cruising altitude.

It's true in the same way that a cargo airship could move a given load using less fuel than a jet: but Dickinson's claim that it would be "70 per cent greener" is a bit suspect. As we've established on these pages before, an airship would burn perhaps 40 per cent less fuel to move a given load compared to a plane. The other thirty per cent green-ness comes from the not terribly well-supported idea that exhaust CO2 emitted at higher altitudes is much more ecologically damaging than it would be if released down near the surface: hence low-flying airships are greener than high-flying jets.

Still, at least Dickinson and HAV/Airlander have eased down their predecessor firm SkyCat's claim to be ninety per cent greener than planes. And a 40 per cent fuel saving is definitely good.

Unfortunately an airship takes an awful lot longer to move its load than a jet. The Airlander will probably cruise, like the LEMV, at 80 knots (around 90 mph), as opposed to a jet's 550-odd. This will tend to rule it out of most of the passenger trade, fuel savings or no.

There's always air cargo, but generally things are sent by air because they need to arrive in a hurry: if there's no hurry then ships, trucks and railways will beat airships on cost, energy efficiency and green-ness. Most air cargo travels on passenger flights anyway. There might be a small niche in the business of moving cargo between airports for Airlanders, but probably not.

So Airlander will need to do something else: something that aeroplanes and helicopters can't do.

There is such a thing, of course.

"It doesn't need a runway," Dickinson tells the BBC. "And it can plonk 50 tonnes anywhere in the world you like, which is 50 times more than a helicopter."

There are a lot of rival plonker ideas out there

Actually there are helicopters which can plonk 14 tonnes or even more - but he's right, there aren't any that can do 50. And he's right again, there are plenty of places that helicopters can't get to due to their limited range. This is why airship enthusiasts tend to envision future ships being used to deliver heavy loads to inaccessible, undeveloped places, perhaps supporting oil or gas drilling or for disaster relief.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
Major cyber attack hits Norwegian oil industry
Statoil, the gas giant behind the Scandie social miracle, targeted
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?