To fly a plane around the world on solar energy alone was considered almost impossible until Solar Impulse took to the skies last year, setting a new record for the longest non-stop flight, when Solar Impulse pilot André Borschberg spent 117 hours, 52 minutes in the air during his flight from Japan to Hawaii. The technologies that enable the plane to keep flying day and night have important applications on the ground, especially in places with no access to grid connections or reliable electricity sources.
Solar Impulse, which is resuming its round-the-world flight in 2016, is famous for having flown more than halfway round the world without consuming a drop of fossil fuel. What powers the plane is an on-board grid, which converts solar energy from the more than 17,000 solar photovoltaic cells that cover the wings and fuselage to power the plane. As long as the sun is shining brightly, the cells produce more than enough power to keep the aircraft flying, thanks to its exceptionally efficient electric motors. Excess power is routed to the plane’s batteries where it is stored for night flights. In this way, Solar Impulse can remain aloft 24 hours a day powered by solar power alone.Leer más…
President, ABB Power Grids division
Article published in: FuturENERGY April 2016