Tag: "solar impulse"

06/20/16

  11:06:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 110 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar News

Solar Plane Crossing the Atlantic! - UPDATED!

UPDATE - 6/23/2016 - SI 2 has arrived safely in Seville, Spain, and did so in just 71 hours, 8 minutes (of the planned 90-hour duration).  Read more on the SI2 blog page.


Solar Impulse 2- that amazing solar-only powered aircraft - is in the air again, this time undertaking a predicted 90-hour flight from New York City’s JFK airport to Seville airport in Spain!

You can see how its systems are performing - solar cells charging the plane’s batteries and powering its ascent during the day, and the batteries propelling the plane during the night as it descends - by following the very cool charts embedded below.  (You can read some of our earlier coverage of Solar Impulse 2 here.)

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04/24/16

  10:49:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 402 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar Events

Solar Impulse - Triumphant in CA!

Longtime readers of this blog will know that we have been following the progress of the Solar Impulse team for many years.  Headed by adventurers/pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the Solar Impulse project was about building an airplane that could fly around the world powered only by solar power!

The original craft, Solar Impulse 1, flew across the United States back in 2013 as a proof-of-concept design that could set the stage for the around-the-world attempt.  That audacious enterprise begin in March of 2015 as Solar Impulse 2 launched from Abu Dhabi on its way around the world.  Last summer, SI2 made it to Hawaii, but the effort needed for that extended non-stop flight from Japan damaged the batteries and required some redesign and retrofitting before the mission could proceed.  But this Thursday, April 21, was finally the day, and SI2 departed from Hawaii, headed for a landing at Moffet Airfield outside of San Francisco - a 62 hour flight!

For those who haven’t been following the mission, since there is only one pilot on-board, he can never really sleep during the flight.  Instead he takes power naps of 20 minutes at a time, assisted by self-hypnosis to quickly bring about a state of relaxation.  In addition, the pilot does yoga and the limited exercises afforded by his incredibly small and cramped cabin.

Solar Impulse 2 approaching the Golden Gate Bridge

But how does the plane itself - which is only powered by sunlight - manage to fly at night?  By an ingenious combination of electric and potential energy storage.  During the day, SI2 follows a flight profile of climbing from 5,000 to approximately 28,000 feet.  Sunlight charges the batteries through a collection of more than 17,000 monocrystalline silicon solar cells.  Then at night, SI2 begins a gentle descent, mostly gliding from its lofty height, to begin the process all over again.

So how did it turn out? As these great images make clear, pilot Bertrand Piccard, made it safe and sound.  The revised systems performed with out a hitch, and SI2 cruised past the Golden Gate Bridge on its way to a successful landing.

SI2 coming in to land at Moffet Airfield, California

Ah to have been in the San Francisco Bay area yesterday!  What a beautiful and inspiring sight!

The Solar Impulse team still has a great deal of work ahead of them including crossing the United States (they will be flying into New York City which should be something!) before crossing the Atlantic as they complete their mission of showing the world the true capability of clean energy.

05/30/15

  04:26:00 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 481 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar Events

It's so On! SI2 Launches on 6-day Flight to Hawaii - UPDATE

UPDATE - Due to looming weather concerns, the Solar Impulse team decided to divert to Nagoya, Japan to await better weather.  Disappointed but undaunted, pilot Andre Borschberg landed successfully in Nagoya this morning after flying for 44 hours and more than 2,000 miles, roughly one-third of the intended distance to Hawaii.  Now the team will study the weather to determine the optimal time to resume their mission to fly around the world, powered only by the sun!


Solar Impulse 2 - the entirely solar-powered airplane that is attempting to fly around the world - just took off on the most audacious leg of its amazingly audacious mission: to fly non-stop from Nanjing China to Hawaii.  This is a non-trivial flight in a conventional jetliner, one from which many passengers will disembark complaining of cramped quarters and a lack of sleep.  But the pilot of SI2, Andre Borschberg, will need to stay awake (mostly) for six days in a cabin slightly smaller than Dr. Who’s TARDIS Police Box!

Updates from SI.TV

We have written about the Solar Impulse project before, with a mixture of awe and envy.  This particular flight, however, is all awe.  We are in awe of the raw human fortitude required to succeed at this attempt, and we are in awe of the courage that this pilot is displaying.  Of course, he is far from alone in this undertaking, supported by a mission control center and an extensive ground support crew.  But at the end of the day, he is in that cockpit alone, and the success of the flight will come down to his skill and determination.

Each day the plane greets the sunrise by a climb to altitude (flight level 280, or 28,000′), allowing the solar cells (17,000 of them) to fully recharge the plane’s batteries.  During the night, the plane descends, flying on stored solar power.  As morning comes around, the plane and pilot reach a critical moment - can they get to a point of energy production that will sustain them through another cycle?  If they have encountered too many clouds, there will not be enough energy to sustain the mission and the pilot faces the very real possibility of ditching the plane in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!  Wow!

Rest for the weary pilot comes in 20 minute breaks, ended by a gentle alarm if all is well, or a more insistent alert if something has gone awry. To maintain physical and mental health, the pilot practices both yoga and self-hypnosis, as well as a limited set of exercises that can be performed within the cabin’s confines.

You can learn more about the background of this mission, and even monitor how solar energy is powering the flight at the Solar Impulse website.

We will update this post as the flight progresses, and the video embedded here will provide live streaming of the flight so be sure to check back often during the week ahead.

03/09/15

  05:43:00 pm, by Laurel Hamilton   , 381 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar News, Climate Change

Solar Impulse Launches Zero-Fuel Flight Around the World

http://info.solarimpulse.com/uploads/thumbs/860x576/2015_02_26_Solar_Impulse_2_RTW_First_Test_Flight_AbuDhabi_Revillard__09.jpgSolar Impulse is the first airplane to fly day and night on solar power alone. To be clear folks, that means 22,000 miles without a single drop of fuel.

Run on Sun has been following the exciting developments of Solar Impulse since it’s prototype began its groundbreaking test flight across America in 2013.

After the lessons learned from the American flight, an upgraded Solar Impulse 2 was developed with a wingspan wider than a Boeing 747, more than 17,000 solar cells and 1,300 pounds of batteries. Amazingly, the aircraft still weighs no more than an average car!

Finally, this  morning, on March 9th, 2015, Solar Impulse 2 and her team were ready to embark on their record-breaking aeronautical journey around the world. The first leg officially departed from Abu Dhabi at 7:12AM UTC+4. Landing in Muscat, Oman at 20:13PM UC+4 pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg rested for a few hours before continuing onward to Ahmedabad, India.

With a top speed of 50 mph, the entire circuit is planned to take four or five months before returning safely back to Abu Dhabi. You can follow their flight online as well as chat with the mission control center and view cockpit measurements like solar battery storage and pilot heart rate!

Solar Impulse is not only about accomplishing the first round-the-world solar flight. Behind the development of this technological feat lies a very powerful message. Piccard and Borschberg are using each landing as an opportunity to reach out to governments, NGOs, education centers, and the broader public to share what is possible with clean technologies.

“We shouldn’t be listing targets, but rather solutions – ways of meeting those targets. Because these solutions exist. Our society could already cut energy consumption in half by replacing old, outdated, polluting technology with clean technologies. Couldn’t we, all together, persuade governments to modify the legal framework so as to encourage the replacement of polluting technologies by cleantechs? That would at least make debates constructive and international climate conferences interesting.” - Bertrand Piccard

In conjunction with Solar Impulse’s round-the-world flight, the pilots started an online campaign called “Future is Clean”. In December 2015, they will share the largest collective voice in favor of clean technologies with global leaders at COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. You can add your pledge and share with your networks at www.futureisclean.org.

06/16/13

  07:19:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 199 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar News

Solar Impulse Takes Washington!

Solar Impulse arrived in the Nation’s capital at fifteen minutes past midnight this morning, landing without incident on runway 19L at Dulles International Airport, thereby completing its transcontinental journey that began in San Francisco on May 3 with stops in Phoenix, Dallas, St. Louis, and Cincinnati.  The historic mission will conclude next month with a flight to New York City.

Solar Impulse on the ground in DC

 

The flight was not without its drama, however.  Starting with an unexpected drenching of the aircraft in Cincinnati due to heavy overnight fog that delayed the takeoff for several hours while the craft was painstakingly dried out to reduce weight and prevent issues with controls freezing up at altitude. The flight was obliged to undergo multiple delays en route, with a particularly frustrating holding pattern before getting clearance to land at Dulles.

Despite all of that, the landing was perfect - “the best landing Dulles has ever seen” in the words of the head of the airport.  (The actual landing was recorded - it starts around the 20 minute mark on this video.)

If you are lucky enough to be in the Washington, D.C. area today, you can see the plane during an Open House from 1 to 5 p.m.  You can get directions here.

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Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
Run on Sun also offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities, and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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