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Practial solar powered planes impossible?

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by Roparadise, May 5, 2013.

  1. Roparadise

    Roparadise BANNED BANNED

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    The latest rage is the possibility of an all electric plane, because of the Solar Impulse making a 18 hour trip from San Francisco to Phoenix Arizona at an average rate of around 40.6 mph, it only had 1 person(the pilot).

    The full specs.


    • Crew: 1
    • Length: 21.85 m (71.7 ft)
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wingspan: 63.4 m (208 ft)
    • Height: 6.40 m (21.0 ft)
    • Wing area: 11,628 photovoltaic cells rated at 45 kW peak: 200 m[SUP]2[/SUP] (2,200 sq ft)
    • Loaded weight: 1,600 kg (3,500 lb)
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximum_takeoff_weight: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb)
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_engine: 4 × electric motors, powered by 4 x 21 kWh lithium-ion batteries (450 kg), providing 7.5 kW (10 HP) each
    • Take-off speed: 35 kilometres per hour (22 mph)

    Just the total weight of people on a average commercial plane is around 14 or so times heavier then the entire max takeoff weight of the Solar Impulse and probably another 4x for all the luggage. And for any decent travel the speed is 12.5 to 13 times as fast as the Solar Impulse. Besides just for recreational personal use, are solar powered planes a waste of effort?

    I saw one person mention on yahoo comments that if you take university level physics and engineering you will see its impossible for practical solar powered plane and everyone neg repped him on there. Was he correct or just not willing to see the future?
     
  2. Smirad

    Smirad Registered Member

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    With science, nothing is fixed. In other words, everything is a theory and open for future thought and adjustment. Ford engineers said it was impossible to develop a V configuration engine, they were adamant it could not be done. So I believe nothing is impossible, if not possible now it could be possible in the near future with improvements in related technologies that makes it possible.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  3. Roparadise

    Roparadise BANNED BANNED

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    The max energy that the sun produces at a given time is 1KW/h per square meter and the world wide average is 4.2KW/h spread out over the day. The entire energy requirements of a 747, is around143,000 KW
     
  4. epicwrite

    epicwrite Regular Member

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    Solar powered planes will dramatically decrease the pollution. There will be less energy consumption and carbon emissions if planes will not be using toxic jet fuels.
     
  5. Bostoncab

    Bostoncab Elite Member

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    I saw something that was looking into bringing back a combo of blimps and solar. Should be interesting.
     
  6. Roparadise

    Roparadise BANNED BANNED

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    Solar Panels could possible benefit hybrid blimps, but hybrid blimps will just be mainly used for cargo transportation.


    There will probably be electric planes in the future, but not planes that run off solar planes.
     
  7. cyrix

    cyrix Junior Member

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    I believe that also, the power may not be generated on board the aircraft via solar panels but when battery technology becomes more advanced and lighter electric planes are a good possibility.

     
  8. Roparadise

    Roparadise BANNED BANNED

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    But it will also have to be cost effective to have a electric plane when the battery technology allows planes to be electric.
     
  9. zebrahat

    zebrahat Elite Member

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    Efficient and light weight transformers could potentially increase the KW/hr power derived from solar power, enough to power small private planes.
     
  10. Roparadise

    Roparadise BANNED BANNED

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    Power Transformers don't increase watts, they increase voltage while lowering current, or decrease voltage to increase current.
     
  11. zebrahat

    zebrahat Elite Member

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    I meant that they could contribute to increasing the wattage, depending on the total design the transformers were a part of.
     
  12. Roparadise

    Roparadise BANNED BANNED

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    They can't contribute to increasing wattage,since they cannot produce more electricity than what is feed into them.
     
  13. closedCaption

    closedCaption Regular Member

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    Simply put, there isn't enough energy available for solar plane to move them into commercial domain, unless more efficient batteries are developed.
     
  14. zebrahat

    zebrahat Elite Member

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    A solar designed system can use solar to power mechanisms that produce more electricity. It's the total system, not just the initial source of power. One explanation:

    "On a much larger scale, solar thermal power plants employ various techniques to concentrate the sun's energy as a heat source. The heat is then used to boil water to drive a steam turbine that generates electricity in much the same fashion as coal and nuclear power plants, supplying electricity for thousands of people.

    In one technique, long troughs of U-shaped mirrors focus sunlight on a pipe of oil that runs through the middle. The hot oil then boils water for electricity generation. Another technique uses moveable mirrors to focus the sun's rays on a collector tower, where a receiver sits. Molten salt flowing through the receiver is heated to run a generator."

    Code:
    http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/solar-power-profile/
     
  15. grafxextreme

    grafxextreme Regular Member

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    Depends, what do you want an electric plane or a plane who's energy source is solar? If you're looking for a fueless electric plane, you might check out Charles Lindenberg, his flight required no fuel. It was an electric plane he flew in his famous transatlantic flight. Will it provide energy for a 747, probably not. Will it provide energy for a prop plane with two people? It's already been proven. People only remember Lindenberg for his famous flight and later his child being kidnapped. Few people remember his plane was fueless and I don't believe he used a battery, either. Keep in mind our first cars were all electric, not gas. We make a big deal about "electric cars" now but there was a time where we were much more technologically advanced than we are now. And no batteries. Just a generator.