The Solar Impulse 2: All You Need to Know

March 11, 2015

Solar Impulse 2

Solar Impulse 2
Aerial view of Solar Impulse 2 Aircraft

     A lot has changed in our world since technology took over. In last 10 years, we discovered the Higgs Boson, revolutionized the field of nanotechnology, invented great smartphones (Thanks Steve Jobs), invented a full electric car (Tesla Motors), found water on various planets and even discovered a planet similar to earth (KEPLER 22B).

     Solar energy is the HOT topic nowadays. We have started using a number of daily life appliances on solar energy. Here is where the next revolution begins! A great breakthrough in the field of aviation and solar energy, THE SOLAR AIRPLANE!

     Solar Impulse 2 (is what it’s called) is the only airplane which can fly day and night without a drop of fuel (on solar power). It was hard to think that a plane could work entirely on solar energy.

 

Boeing 747-81
Boeing 747-81 Vs Solar Impulse 2

    Solar Impulse 2 is privately financed solar powered long range aircraft project led by Swiss aeronaut Betrand Piccard and Swiss businessman Andre Borschberg. SOLVAY (an international chemistry industrial Group), OMEGA (a watch brand), SCHINDLER (a leading technology brand) and ABB (heritage of technology innovation in renewables, sustainable transportation and energy efficiency) are core partners of the project.

     After years of prototype building and testing, Solar Impulse 2 departed on world tour from Abu Dhabi on March 9, 2015. It landed at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, Ahmedabad (India) on March 10, 2015. We welcome #TeamSI2 to India, the land of Yoga. After 4 days rest, it is about to take off for Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport, Varanasi (India). Mission planners will campaignon the topic of clean technologies to the local inpeople in Ahmedabad.

world tour map
Tour map of Solar Impulse 2 airplane

 Salient Features:

  1. Solar Impulse uses 17,248 ultra-efficient solar cells to generate maximum power of 70 HP.
  2. Lithium polymer batteries, insulated by high density foam are used to store energy during day time and to power airplane in night. These batteries have energy density of 260 Wh/kg.
  3. The total mass of batteries which is near about 633kg weighs 1/4th of total weight of airplane. The total weight of plane is 2,300 kg.
  4. This super special aircraft can fly one person at a time.
  5. Its airframe (main body) is made up of composite materials like carbon fibre and honeycomb sandwich.
  6. It has attractive 71.9 m wingspan which add cuteness to the aircraft design.
  7. Four brushless motors each rated for 17.4 hp are mounted below the wings.
  8. The airplane flies at 8,500 m height during the day and 1,500 m height during night in order to save energy.
  9. Solar Impulse can fly between 36 km/h and 140 km/h.

     We wish all the best to this innovative and ground-breaking project. Waiting for the day when they start passenger flight services on such planes.

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Useful Link: Solar Impulse RTW