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Mobility Diary


    "You are not a human being having a spiritual experience, but a spiritual being having a human experience."

    Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
    1881-1955

    Mobility Diary

    2010/07/11
    Solar Powered Airplane: Solar Impulse
    last edited 2010/07/11 11:10 (*)

    In a century which brought a lot of invention about mobility, recent developments only pretend to be real innovations, but mostly refinements of existing ideas, concepts and realizations. Solar Impulse project around Bertrand Piccard is such a project.


    Solar Impulse Plans


    Solar Impulse (Illustration)


    Solar Impulse Test Flight

    General characteristics

    • Crew: 1
    • Payload: Lithium-ion batteries: 450 kg, (capacity: 200 Wh/kg = 90 KWh)
    • Length: 21.85 m (71.7 ft)
    • Wingspan: 63.4 m (208 ft)
    • Height: 6.40 m (21.0 ft)
    • Wing area: 11,628 photovoltaic cells: 200 m2 (2,200 sq ft)
    • Loaded weight: 1600 kg (3,500 lb)
    • Max takeoff weight: 2000 kg (4,400 lb)
    • Powerplant: 4 electric motors, 7.5 kW (10 HP) each
    • Take-off speed: 35 kilometres per hour (22 mph)

    Performance

    • Cruise speed: 70 kilometres per hour (43 mph)
    • Endurance: 36 hours (projected)
    • Service ceiling: 8,500 m (27,900 ft) Maximum altitude: 12,000 metres (39,000 ft)


    Wingspan Comparison of Solar Impulse vs Airbus 380

    The wingspan comparison and weight comparison shows the key of energy efficiency: weight. Regardless in air or surface, the weight is a major factor as pointed out in other postings here. To build a 1600kg airplane where the batteries already use up 25% of the weight reveals also the main problem: storing (electric) energy, and currently (2010) electricity is stored in batteries, and those still impose a high weight cost.

    I hope the research around Solar Impulse provides also new insights of efficiency of ground mobility and vice-versa.

    Links



    All posts or individual posts:

  • Solar Powered Airplane: Solar Impulse (2010/07/11 09:48)
  • General Motors & Chrysler Bankruptcy (2009/06/02 12:08)
  • USA wants cars make 39MPG or more (~6.2L/100km or less) by 2016 (2009/05/19 07:53)
  • High-Speed Railway for USA (2009/04/18 11:21)
  • Exotic Vehicles (2009/04/16 16:40)
  • Microcar: Swiss-based Cree's SAM (2009/04/14 09:50)
  • Lightweight Car: Loremo LS - 1.5L per 100km / 155 MPG (2009/04/13 14:03)
  • Vehicle/Body Ratio: Efficiency and Safety (2009/04/13 12:29)
  • Microcars Done Wrong: Smart Fortwo & Obvio 828 (2009/04/13 11:27)
  • Tesla Roadster: Old Way Car with Electric Engine (2009/04/11 17:26)
  • Solar Taxi - A Swiss Entrepreneur (2009/03/29 07:19)
  • Wind-powered car breaks record: 126.1 mph or 202.9 km/h (2009/03/28 22:09)
  • US car manufacturer crisis (2009/03/25 12:28)
  • Shell quits alternative energy investments (2009/03/25 10:37)


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