LTA's Efficiency Stats
LTA vs. Contemporary Transportation
There are at least 6 common factors that can be used when comparing today’s transportation modes:
- Ownership Cost
- Maintenance Cost
- Operating Cost
- Infrastructure Cost
- Fuel Efficiency
- Time Efficiency
The chart above compares Lighter-than-Air technology, also known as the LTA, with 4 of the most common modes of transportation based on fuel efficiency.
The metric used to measure fuel efficiency within the cargo industry is the “ton-mile per gallon” (TM/G). It indicates the cargo in tons that can be transported 1 mile on 1 gallon of fuel. Obviously, the higher the number, the greater the fuel efficiency.
Transport by fixed-wing aircraft will always be the least fuel efficient. As an example, a 757-200 can only carry about 35 tons, but consumes 1,500 gallons of fuel per flight hour.
The trucking industry’s documented national average is 72 ton-miles per gallon.
The ton-mile per gallon rating for shipping by vessel is based solely on fuel consumption data for the world’s largest container ships. It does not take into account that shipping by vessel relies on the lesser efficient modes of ground transportation to complete both the first and last mile of its delivery process. Therefore, its overall TM/G rating is much less than indicated.
Rail is often considered the most fuel-efficient form of ground transportation for cargo. But access to rail is limited, and for this reason the less efficient mode of trucking must be used in both the first and last mile of its delivery process. Therefore, its overall ton-mile per gallon rating, like shipping by vessel, is also much less than indicated.
In the bar chart above, there are 3 columns that represent rail’s fuel efficiency:
- Rail-1 represents the TM/G rating for ideal conditions – 0% grade, no wind, precipitation, or curves in the track.
- Rail-2 represents the same conditions as Rail-1, but the grade is increased to 1%.
- Rail-3 is also the same conditions with the grade increasing to 2%.
In the bar chart, there are also 3 columns that represent LTA:
- LTA-1 represents the Hindenburg’s fuel efficiency if upgraded with modern diesel engine technology, constant speed propellers and traveling at the same average velocity as a large container vessel (17 mph).
- LTA-2 represents the same tech upgrade as LTA-1 but traveling at the average velocity of a modern freight train (25 mph).
- “SkyTrain” represents the fuel efficiency attainable when pod trains are utilized.
LTA’s fuel efficiency superiority will not be completely understood until the impact of “Direct Path Access” coupled with the advantage of “Weightless Cargo” is fully realized.
These two concepts are among many of the advantages LTA possesses over all other forms of contemporary transportation.
Quantifying LTA's Time Efficiency
A technology’s ability to perform the same work as other transportation modes while consuming less fuel is an important gain, but not the only factor to consider.
As previously stated, LTA has the advantage of a concept we call “Direct Path Access”.
Direct path access eliminates wasteful trekking.
This means LTA can perform the same work over a shorter distance and in a more condensed period of time.
The fuel consumption chart above attempts to quantify the magnitude of the impact of this concept.
As an example, in 2019 the world consumed 1.2 trillion gallons of fuel.
At an average price of $2.64 per gallon, that equals approximately $3.2 trillion spent on fuel in just one year.
If we assume 40% to be waste due to the transportation industry’s enslavement to its ground-based transportation infrastructure, that equates to $1.3 trillion in lost buying power.
To substantiate this reality, consider your own driving experiences. While traveling to any destination, you are forced to take an indirect path. While en route, there will be multiple turns, stops, starts, deceleration due to congestion, merging traffic, etc., followed by periods of acceleration and changes in grade. This is the most inefficient way to operate a motor vehicle equipped with an internal combustion engine (ICE).
In addition to this, it’s a documented fact that more than 50% of the energy contained in a gallon of fuel is consumed long before reaching the wheels of a motor vehicle due to the internal friction and heat loss within the ICE itself.
The inefficiency of this technology (ICE) and the way in which it is used is staggering.
And making matters worse, 3 of the modes used for transporting cargo use this technology:
Taking the discussion a step further, the following chart displays the estimated base fuel consumption when both ICE’s internal inefficiencies and the inefficiencies of the ground based transportation infrastructure are collectively taken into account.
As displayed, out of the $3.2 trillion spent globally for fuel in 2019, only an estimated $500 billion can be considered the base fuel consumption.
Stated another way, when considered collectively, the inefficiencies of both ICE technology and the ground-based transportation system account for 85% of global fuel consumption. Meaning only 15% is required for the actual work of moving people and cargo.
Stop and consider the scope of that for a moment. In a world where many on the left want to completely abandon fossil fuels in the name of “saving the planet”, forcing the switch to energy sources that don’t function unless the weather conditions are perfect, all that is really required is a paradigm shift in the method of transportation.
Forcing everyone into electric vehicles only succeeds in pushing the “carbon” creation back to the power plants. For the 86% of the global community living in developing countries to grow and prosper to the same level as the 14% living in developed countries, there must be affordable access in those countries to both reliable power and reliable transportation.
By utilizing direct path access and weightless cargo, LTA will prove itself the most efficient transportation technology in the 21st century, beating out all other modes in both time and fuel economy while simultaneously creating a new transportation paradigm.
Ground Transportation Infrastructure Cost
In addition to the fuel and time efficiencies, LTA isn’t shackled to costly ground infrastructure which is characteristic of all other forms of transportation.
That means that unlike the Class I railroad companies in the US who spend $20 billion annually maintaining over 100,000 miles of track and 104,000 trestles, or the state and local entities who spend $187 billion annually maintaining over 4.1 million miles of roads and highways, LTA can use these monies as investment back into the business and shared profits for the investor, with the overall result being lower taxes for the taxpayer.
LTA's Historical Stats
- German airship program duration: 1889 – 1940
- The Germans were the first to master controlled flight
- All German Zeppelins were equipped with hydrogen as the lift gas
- More than 120 German Zeppelins were built
- 80 German Zeppelins were used in WWI to fight England and their allies
- First humans to travel by air were aboard an airship
- First humans to traverse continents and oceans were aboard a Zeppelin
- First humans to travel around the world were aboard a Zeppelin
- First aerial bombing of a population was carried out by a Zeppelin
- Until the demise of the Hindenburg in 1937, the Germans had enjoyed a perfect passenger safety record for 40 years
- To date, the Germans have the only successful airship program
- It took fixed-wing aircraft (airplane) 20 additional years to equal the Zeppelin’s accomplishments
Graf Zeppelin LZ-127 Stats
- Considered the most successful Zeppelin due to its 9 years of service
- Service period: 1928 – 1937
- 34,000 passengers safely transported
- 590 successful flights
- 17,000 flight hours
- August 26, 1929 – successfully completed its Around-the-World Expedition by air
- Expedition total duration: 21 days
- Expedition flight hours: 288 (12 days)
- Expedition distance traveled: 21,250 miles
- Expedition passengers and crew: 60 men and 1 woman
- Expedition average speed: 71mph
Hindenburg LZ-129 Stats
- The largest aircraft ever built
- Considered one of the most technologically advanced airships
- Service period: 1936 – 1937
- Passenger accommodations: 50 – 75
- 3,100 passengers safely transported
- 63 successful flights
- 3,100 flight hours
- Average cruise speed: 75mph
- Top speed: 85mph
- Fuel consumption: 163 gallons of diesel fuel per hour in total
- Gross lift: 511,000 lbs
- Net lift: 240,000 lbs
- Destroyed by fire May 6, 1937