Richard is a Justmeans staff writer for the Energy and Emissions category. He is a recent graduate of Western Carolina University in North Carolina where he studied History and Professional Writing. With an interest in the development and application of the latest computer, energy, and fuel technologies, he believes that the world must strive, with the help of these services, to better our societi...
The Dragonfly DF1: Taking Green Transportation Where We Don't Need Roads
My grandparents and parents both used to tell me when I was growing up that they were all expecting to have flying cars by the time I was whatever age I happened to be at the time. Visions of a sparkling future left over from the boom of the 1950s and cartoons like The Jetsons seemed to have at least made people hopeful, even if they weren't convinced, that in the future things would have changed. Now, with dreams of flying cars still pretty far off, we have the chance to look at something similar with the knowledge that this idea not only works, but is environmentally friendly to boot.
That environmentally friendly green vehicle that isn't quite a flying car is the Dragonfly DF1. Developed by the Arizona based aviation company Avimech Aircraft, the Dragonfly DF1 is a miniature helicopter that is designed to operate using a hydrogen based fuel that gives off zero carbon emissions. The Dragonfly DF1 is fairly unique, in fact, thanks to the hybrid design that marries the basic concept of a helicopter with hydrogen powered rocket nozzles that provide the thrust. The fuel in this case is H2O2 or, as it is better known, hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide is used in the rocket-like engines with a catalyst that allows the solution to be broken down and released as water vapor, meaning that the engine is 100% emissions free much like other hydrogen based fuel systems.
While the Dragonfly DF1, as it is currently designed, is hardly in a place to become the next big mainstream green transportation system, it does have a variety of services that Avimech believes it would be ideally suited. With a top speed of around 100 knots and an estimated run time of approximately ninety minutes, the Dragonfly DF1 could be used for small scale medical support, search and rescue, or law enforcement purposed. Avimech also notes that the Dragonfly DF1 could be used as a photographic survey or reconnaissance systems with other similar applications leading it to being used for surveillance or border patrol.
The serious professional purposes aside, the Dragonfly DF1 would also make a very entertaining recreational green vehicle. Avimech notes on their website that the entire system is made of certified and safe materials and comes in very low on a scale with a weight of 220 pounds. The system also takes only an hour and a half to construct out of the box and, according to Avimech and given you have the proper experience, the Dragonfly DF1 should be very easy to fly.
Avimech's little Dragonfly DF1 is a pretty robust green vehicle when you compare it to similar systems that might be available. Considering the fact that is also runs entirely on a hydrogen based fuel and the fact that it has no real detrimental factors to worry about makes it an ideal system for other companies to look at when developing similar technologies. Though it is a far cry from a flying car, we can only hope that technology like the Dragonfly DF1 could lead us to one day be able to say with certainly what Doc Brown said at the end of the 1985 film Back to the Future: "Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads."