Planes Are Ruining the Planet. New, Mighty Airships Won’t.
onezero.medium.com
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Some scientists are serious about resurrecting zeppelins for low-carbon travel

Really interesting. We need also to obliterare planes when you can accomplish the same with a train.

@null_radix
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313d

why not have both? something need to be moved fast. Like organs for transplanting.

@stopit
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12d

I use trains locally, for work and such, but insofar as going anywhere outside PR, what will a train do for me? I live on an island!

I said “when you can accomplish the same thing”, obviusly there’s going to be cases in which a plane is required. And for those situations those new airships seem interesting.

@thervingi
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914d

Aren’t airships very slow?

poVoq
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14d

Compared to what? Around 200 km/h was the top speed of the old ones in the 1930ties.

@thervingi
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213d

Now compare that to an airplane that can easily go x4 that.

poVoq
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13d

Sure, but compare that to a cruise ship (which is the fairer comparison) which goes 4x less fast.

@thervingi
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13d

People don’t use cruise ships to travel. They use them for vacationing.(like a floating hotel)

poVoq
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13d

An airship would be something in between. They can be spacious enough for moving around inside while traveling and you can easily make stops at sightseeing destinations (airplanes use most fuel for starting, while that is essentially free with airships).

Time critical business travel would be probably not possible to replace, but as the pandemic has shown, those can be mostly replaced with online meetings anyways.

@guojing
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014d

No way, the maximum was around 100 kmh for most of them.

poVoq
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14d

Source? They usually had a cruising speed around 125km/h.

@enebe
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613d

Honestly, 125km/h sounds like plenty. This monsters can travel in a straight line, so combined with good rail networks they should be more than enough for common travelling

@Zerush
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14d

They have been planned for a long time, these zeppelins need much less energy, since the propulsion can even be through electric motors and solar energy in the enormous surface of these devices. They do not require long take-off or landing strips. They can carry many passengers or large loads, apart from being very safe. The disadvantage is that their speed is not greater than a maximum of 200 km/h and they are more sensitive to strong winds that can divert them from their course. https://youtu.be/_phicOPoQT8

@Faresh
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110d

What gas do they use for the lift?

@Zerush
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110d

Helio. I know, it’s expensive, but only one time+ among of the substitutes. Paparte even because of this, it’s only a fraction of the cost of a normal plane andthe fuel it use in every flight.

@Faresh
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10d

Couldn’t we somehow engineer a more modern airship that uses the much more available hydrogen instead, but with proper measures against the outbreak of fires?

@Zerush
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210d

Too dangerous, I wouldn’t want to travel in a hydrogen-filled contraption through a lighning storm. Hydrogen is an excellent fuel and for this reason it is used as such, precisely because of its explosive flammability, which must be stored in thick-walled tanks due to its high volatility, which escapes through normal thin-walled tanks. With helium there are no problems of this type, although it is not as light as Hydrogen, it offers enough buoyancy for projects of this type, which is why it is used in current weather balloons and in these famous GoodYear airships and others. Helium is completely inert and non-flammable.

@Faresh
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10d

which is why it is used in current weather balloons

Actually I think people use both hydrogen balloons and helium balloons for that.

The problem with helium is that it’s already very scarce, despite having very important uses across many fields and once it’s gone it’s gone (unless maybe if somewhere in the future we begin using nuclear fusion, I guess)

@Zerush
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19d

Helium is by no means a scarce element, it’s after Hidrogen the second most abundant in the universe, 24% of the total element mass. It is not as abundant on Earth and has to be obtained from natural gas, where it appears in different combinations. It can not be obtained with other methods, such as Hydrogen, it’s not renevable, so its price is higher.

@Faresh
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29d

Helium is by no means a scarce element, it’s after Hidrogen the second most abundant in the universe, 24% of the total element mass. It is not as abundant on Earth and has to be obtained from natural gas

Scarce for us terrestrians that don’t live in a futuristic sci-fi world where we go around harvesting resources from planets.

@Zerush
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19d

Rare does not mean that it is difficult to obtain, or that there is little on Earth. It is not a fuel that is spent when you use it, like oil or coal. It is an inert, clean element, it is not toxic or polluting, it can be stored well and it is only used to give buoyancy to balloons and airships. For this use there is more than enough, without having to enter the Sci Fi. Is it more expensive and difficult to obtain than Hydrogen? Yes, but this with the savings in energy and fuel using it for airships instead of Keosene for so many airplanes and private jets, this is irrelevant. The energy expenditure of a blimp does not even reach 10% of that of a small plane, despite the high price of Helium. Compared to the big ships, which can also be replaced by airships for transport, the difference is even greater, in these cases the airships are even faster

@zksmk
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414d

solar energy in the enormous surface of these devices

There’s already a company making these

@Zerush
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314d

I know, in these devices, if they put electric motors it is only a logical consequence of taking advantage of this large surface that these monsters have. They can perfectly have the size of an oil tanker or even more, the Nazi Zeppelin already had 245 m

@enebe
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513d

I don’t know enough, and I’m sure that there are drawbacks. But if something is clear is that planes cannot be commonplace, but just an exception. If they are replaced by airships, great, but if not, we need to just get used to not travelling this much.

There are exceptions, of course, but they should be that: exceptions. And the same goes for cars

@AgreeableLandscape
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313d

It might seem good on paper, but this is squarely in “I’ll believe it when I see it” territory.

I am very sceptical that these ever are going to be a cost effective setup. I don’t think I will ever fly in one during my lifetime.

krolden
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113d

Why not just build biofuel powered jet engines?

poVoq
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13d

Sure, that is also being done. However, the economics of that are very questionable. Also, personally I rather have a comfortable train or airship ride over being cramped into an airplane, especially if it ends up costing ten times as much.

@linkert
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113d

Aren’t biofuels just another variant touching the same grand issue? From what I’ve gathered the growing, harvesting and refining biofuels differ wildly but all have in common an rather sizable amount of destructive land use - be it through deforestation, palm oli cultivation or the monoculture aspect of growing crops for fuel. Most of the biofuels are from palm, rapeseed oil or corn and it’s some gosh darn dirty business. The old saying *“can’t eat the cake and keep it” rings true for the climate crisis - going backwards towards some type of neo-classical future, keeping modern knowledge on how to fuck things up while mixing in tried and true concepts like no-til gardening, food conservation, sailing, coppicing and what not would probably be a more sane and doable route for humanity.

https://www.dw.com/en/biofuels-good-or-bad-for-the-environment/a-44354834

I’m 110% certain that the ultimate source of infinite energy, fusion, would be the absolute quickest way to destroy all the remaining living ecosystems on earth.

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