A new energy-efficient, insulated hot-air balloon by Festo took to the skies here at ILA on Monday evening in its first mission with members of the press.
Festo, winner of the “Energy Efficiency Award 2008”, has produced an innovative ultra-light membrane insulating material.
Dr. Heinrich Frontzek, head of corporate communication, said at the show yesteday: “In classic hot-air balloons, five people travelling for one hour consume the same amount of fuel as an economical passenger car driving from Berlin to Barcelona.
“This insulation is basically like the window layers in your house. With the insulation we don’t need to use so much gas so the load capacity for passengers is much higher,” says Frontzek.
In the development project, steam was used instead of hot air to fill the balloon. Steam has twice the load-bearing capacity of air, but it needs insulation to prevent condensation from forming on the interior of the balloon envelope.
A new ultra-light metallised base fabric transforms the foil into an insulating material suitable for everyday use in balloons.
“We produce a lot of air-balloons to the marketing world. This insulation highlights the innovations possible in lighter-than-air aviation and makes balloon travel 50% more efficient,” Frontzek said.
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Source: Flight Daily News