Solar Powered Aircraft

1) Energy & Waste: The aircraft industry contributes to 9% of the total CO2 emissions among the transportation sector in the United States. These emissions are expected to triple by 2050 without the establishment of policy regulations. Ultimately, alternative sources energy and a transition away from harmful pollutants into the atmosphere need to be developed to align environmental concerns with transportation demands. As such, Solar Impulse has developed to fully solar power aircraft to tackle the issue.

2) Technology:

  • The project took 12 years of research and development to come to fruition, resulting in a 2.3 ton aircraft with over 17,000 solar cells (23% energy efficient) that were each tested 3 times
  • The PV cells are protected from UV radiation with a polymer film and many of the components are made with carbon fiber and alveolate foam in a honey comb structure
  • It consists of multiple lightweight characteristics such as led lights and structural components, solar cells, energy dense batteries, energy efficient electric motors (97% efficient), and thermal insulation
  • The aircraft has the capacity for only one pilot at a time and is composed of an unheated and unpressurized cockpit measuring 3.8 cubic meters

3) Organizational Stakeholders:

  • Engineers and designers at Solar Impulse
  • Aircraft carriers
  • Customers for transportation needs (potentially)

4) Deployment:

  • Conduct further test runs of the technology to boost accuracy and make improvements
  • Invest in more R&D and materials evaluations for increase the size/capacity of individual aircrafts
  • Incorporate innovations in battery storage and solar energy conversion to drive efficiency and product reliability

5) Student Comment: 

https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/10/06/affordable-and-mobile-alpod-house-bt2443/comment-page-1/#comment-1225

Sources: 

http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/products_design/caitlin_kauffman/world%E2%80%99s_first_solar-powered_plane_making_its_way_aro

http://www.solarimpulse.com/

https://www.c2es.org/federal/executive/epa/reducing-aircraft-carbon-emissions

 

Dominic Bell (dlb2189)

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One thought on “Solar Powered Aircraft

  1. The 5,000-pound, zero-emission plane has a wingspan longer than that of the Boeing 747. Solar panels that cover the aircraft’s wings and fuselage charge four extra-efficient batteries, which power the 17.4-horsepower motors. That’s enough to move the plane at 20 to 90 mph.

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