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'Solar Impulse': a sun-powered aeroplane

 
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ujoni08



Joined: 03 Oct 2009
Posts: 880
Location: Stroud Gloucestershire

PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 4:24 pm    Post subject: 'Solar Impulse': a sun-powered aeroplane Reply with quote

This has probably been mentioned before, but here's a quick update on their latest flight:

http://www.treehugger.com/aviation/solar-impulse-flying-san-francisco-new-york-city-solar-plane.html





Quote:
A deep-blue array of 12,000 silicon solar cells stretches across the more than 60-meter wingspan, which is nearly as long as a Boeing 747s. At 1,600 kilograms, the airplane weighs less than a compact car. The electricity-producing solar cells themselves are only 135 microns thickthe width of a human hairyet they can convert more than 20 percent of the incoming sunlight into electricity, and more than enough for takeoff, powered flight and a daily recharge of the batteries that keep the plane aloft through the night.

Takeoff requires 10 horsepower from each of four electric engines, which is supplied by the solar cells and pre-charged lithium ion batteries [90kWh]. The engines are quickly throttled back to seven horsepower to climb and then as little as 2.5 horsepower per engine is required at cruising altitude where the plane flies at roughly 80 kilometers per hour. The plane climbs to 9,000 meters by mid-afternoon when the sun shines most abundantly and then, to conserve power, slowly descends to 1,500 meters over the course of the evening where it flies on battery power until the next sunrise, when the cycle repeats anew. "In order to stay airborne until the next sunrise it has to be that big and that light," Piccard explains. "We have calculated what we need in terms of energy, so that gave us the surface and it gave us the wing loading."


I know about the wastefulness of flying around when we have much bigger problems to resolve, etc. but I find it inspiring from an efficiency / low-energy point of view, to see what solar energy can achieve.
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RenewableCandy



Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 12469
Location: York

PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is a beautiful object, isn't it?
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emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Impulse to circumnavigate the globe?

Source

Quote:
Piccard, along with his partner Andre Borschberg, will have to fly 35,000 kilometers in five months. The jet takes off at Abu Dhabi and its route goes through the Arabian Sea, India, Myanmar, China, the Pacific Ocean, US, the Atlantic Ocean, southern Europe and North Africa.

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Pepperman



Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Posts: 759

PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I confess I was slightly disappointed when I first read the 5 months bit. I thought they were going to do round the world in a single flight.
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3rdRock
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Solar Impulse plane begins epic global flight

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-31772140

Quote:
A record-breaking attempt to fly around the world in a solar-powered plane has got under way from Abu Dhabi.

The aircraft - called Solar Impulse-2 - took off from the Emirate, heading east to Muscat in Oman.

Over the next five months, it will skip from continent to continent, crossing both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in the process.

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3rdRock
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-31772140

Quote:
Solar Impulse: Global flight completes first leg


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-31812935

Quote:
Solar Impulse: Piccard crosses Arabian Sea
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3rdRock
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Oman to India journey sets new record

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-31812935
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