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European Patent No.
USA Patent No.
Hong Kong Patent No.
» HK 1083614
I.P. Patent Pending
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The Varialift Airship Concept
The Global Market
According to cerasis.com, the global logistics market is worth $4trillion per year, of which $70bn is air freight and $2trn road freight. Variable lift airships will ultimately secure a significant percentage (possibly the bulk) of the global air freight business, and a small, but still extremely valuable portion of existing road freight business, particularly for long distance, bulky or lightweight goods.
Varialift is unique in that when on the ground it can be heavier than air and can be loaded by drive-on cargo-carrying vehicles.
Following loading the cargo bays are secured and the airship lifts vertically into the air without the use of thrust from engines.This is thanks to Varialift's variable buoyancy units.
The Varialift lands vertically and becomes heavier than air through compression of the lifting gas, making it stable for loading and unloading.
The Varialift is totally rigid and initial models will be able to carry loads from 50 to 250 tonnes. Larger models with payloads up to 3000 tonnes are conceivable.
Varialift airships can hover indefinitely without using energy. This means that bulky cargo (eg, electricity pylons, wind turbine blades and towers, nuclear reactor pressure vessels and heat exchangers, prefabricated structures such as oil rigs) can be underslung on cables. Cargo will have a weight limit, but no practical size limit.
The first generation of Varialift airships will be powered by standard aero engines. But the rigid aluminium exterior offers the potential for power to be supplied by solar PV/battery units on later models. No energy is required for the airship to rise above the clouds, and speed can be varied according to solar power availability. This means that a zero-carbon, zero fuel cost service is feasible. Currently there is no significant alternative logistics service offering zero carbon emissions, so we expect this feature to appeal to a significant and growing segment of the "green" consumer market.
While the initial focus will be on cargo-carrying airships, there is clear potential for variable lift technology to be used for static, manoeuvrable communication platforms (pseudo-satellites). Advantages over satellites would be: little or no launch cost, payload reparability/upgradeability, zero interference from other platforms, manoeuvrability, much less signal latency than geostationary satellites, and vibration free launch (opening up the possibility of using components currently not usable on rocket-launched satellites). Power would be available from solar PV and batteries.