Solar plane may help green energy take off
Solar impulse, an aircraft powered by the Sun, is nearing the end of a cross-country trip, landing at Dulles International Airport in Washington DC on June 16. The HB-SIA touched down in the second-to-last stop on a long tour across the country. The plane was piloted by Bertrand Piccard from Cincinnati, and the aircraft will next be flown to New York City, under the command of Andre Borschberg.
This solar-powered airplane is different from most of its predecessors in that instead of having solar cells being applied over the surface of the plane's wing and horizontal tail, the cells are the skin itself. Although the HB-SIA has a wingspan about equal to that of a 747, the plane only weighs 3,500 pounds.
The challenge in keeping the plane airborne lies not with the aircraft itself, but the people who fly it. The plane is slow - just 44 MPH, so the journeys are long. Because the weight of the aircraft had to be kept at a minimum to power the plane with sunlight, there is no bathroom. Pilots must also wear face masks, since the cabin is unpressurized. The longest anyone has ever stayed in the plane so far is 26 hours. A successor to the Solar Impulse craft is already being built.
"The seat is like a really bad economy seat on an airliner. The next version will be like a good business-class seat," Gregory Blatt, a managing director of Solar Impulse, the company based in Lausanne, Switzerland, which built the craft, said.
It is believed that the next generation aircraft from Solar Impulse, known as the HB-SIB, will allow the pilot to stay aloft for five or six days at a time. People flying the plane will be able to move around the cabin and the aircraft will have an autopilot.
But to fly a heavier craft is going to mean more efficient solar cells, better engines, and several other improvements over the current design. The engines aboard the current craft are more than 90 percent efficient, which is better than most engines on the ground. The 11,628 solar cells provide 22.7 percent efficiency. That new technology could lead to advances in renewable energy storage systems, more eco-friendly vehicles and homes.
"This wonderful achievement, this engineering marvel, touches four really critical areas for the Department of Energy." Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy, said. The Secretary was referring to solar power, energy efficiency, electrical storage and advanced materials.
One of the goals of the HB-SIB will be circumnavigating the world on solar power - a task set for 2015. To do that will require engines running at 94 percent efficiency or better.
Researchers Develop Sunlight-Powered Water Purifiers For Those Who Can't Afford Clean Water
A solar-powered device that could generate clean drinking water has recently been developed that is more cost-effective and even efficient for users.
Increasing Demand Of Solar Power Could Cause Higher Price Of Coal By Year 2020
With the rapid increase of demand among solar-powered equipments these days, businessmen have opted to increase the price of coal and oil.
Bill Gates Names 3 Careers He'd Drop Out For Today
Famous Harvard dropout and current billionaire Bill Gates would like to pursue a career in the field of artificial intelligence, energy sector, or biotechnology.
Tesla Powerwall 2: Price, Features, Capacity And More
Tesla Powerwall 2, another venture by Elon Musk’s tech company, is bound to start its first installations early in the year. Here are more details about this energy efficient system.
Algae Biofuel: Finding Algae Species For Making Renewable Energy
Algae might be the future of renewable energy! With the booming industry of algae biofuel, researchers try to find more productive algae species to make biofuel.
MORE IN ITECHPOST
All You Need To Know About Massage Gun
There is always a probability of feeling pain in your body after exercise. The pain is even likely to affect your routine activities. So, it is essential to take care of it before the reverse occurs. Before now, the use of foam roller has been in the vanguard of suppressing muscle pains.
4 Important Changes in Software Development
Technology is constantly changing, developing. The same can be said for the software industry. The waterfall approach is being left behind for the new and improved agile approach.
New Retroreflective Material Could be Used in Nighttime Color-Changing Road Signs
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A thin film that reflects light in intriguing ways could be used to make road signs that shine brightly and change color at night, according to a study that will be published on Aug. 9 in Science Advances.
Top 5 Video Games to Play for a Truly Unique First Date
Video games have a way of taking us outside of ourselves and live in a fantasy world. It's even better when you're playing a game with someone special!