Aircraft, and the aviation ecosystem in which they operate, are shaped by complex trades among technical requirements, economics and environmental concerns, all built on a foundation of safety. This Perspective explores the requirements of battery-powered aircraft and the chemistries that hold promise to enable them. The difference between flight and terrestrial needs and chemistries are highlighted. Safe, usable specific energy rather than cost is the major constraint for aviation. We conclude that battery packs suitable for flight with specific energy approaching 600 watt hours per kilogram may be achievable in the next decade given sufficient investment targeted at aeronautical applications.
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V.V. is a technical consultant at QuantumScape Corporation and Chief Scientist at Aionics Inc. Y.-M.C. is co-founder and Chief Scientist at 24M Technologies Inc. M.B. is a technical consultant to Electra.aero and Ampaire.
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Viswanathan, V., Epstein, A.H., Chiang, YM. et al. The challenges and opportunities of battery-powered flight. Nature 601, 519–525 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-04139-1