• 5 hours Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 9 hours Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 15 hours Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 16 hours Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 17 hours Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 1 day Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 1 day Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 2 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 2 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 2 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 2 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 2 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 2 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 2 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 2 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 2 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 3 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 3 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 3 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 3 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
  • 5 days Trump Passes Iran Nuclear Deal Back to Congress
  • 5 days Texas Shutters More Coal-Fired Plants
  • 6 days Oil Trading Firm Expects Unprecedented U.S. Crude Exports
  • 6 days UK’s FCA Met With Aramco Prior To Proposing Listing Rule Change
  • 6 days Chevron Quits Australian Deepwater Oil Exploration
  • 6 days Europe Braces For End Of Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 6 days Renewable Energy Startup Powering Native American Protest Camp
  • 6 days Husky Energy Set To Restart Pipeline
  • 6 days Russia, Morocco Sign String Of Energy And Military Deals
  • 6 days Norway Looks To Cut Some Of Its Generous Tax Breaks For EVs
  • 7 days China Set To Continue Crude Oil Buying Spree, IEA Says
  • 7 days India Needs Help To Boost Oil Production
  • 7 days Shell Buys One Of Europe’s Largest EV Charging Networks
  • 7 days Oil Throwback: BP Is Bringing Back The Amoco Brand
  • 7 days Libyan Oil Output Covers 25% Of 2017 Budget Needs
  • 7 days District Judge Rules Dakota Access Can Continue Operating
  • 7 days Surprise Oil Inventory Build Shocks Markets
  • 8 days France’s Biggest Listed Bank To Stop Funding Shale, Oil Sands Projects
  • 8 days Syria’s Kurds Aim To Control Oil-Rich Areas
  • 8 days Chinese Teapots Create $5B JV To Compete With State Firms

A Look at Solar Planes

Boeing is one of the most recognizable names in the aviation industry, so when they come up with a new design it generates a great deal of attention and fanfare. In this case the new design is of a solar powered plane. Others have proposed similar in the past. Perhaps Boeing will generate enough interest for long term support of the concept.

The world’s first official flight in a solar powered, man carrying aircraft took place on April 29, 1979. The Solar Riser was built by Larry Mauro and was based on the Easy Riser biplane hang glider.

Solar Challenger was a solar-powered electric aircraft designed by Paul MacCready's AeroVironment. The aircraft was designed as an improvement on the Gossamer Penguin, which in turn was a solar-powered variant of the human-powered Gossamer Albatross. It was powered entirely by the photovoltaic cells on its wing and stabilizer, without even reserve batteries, and was the first such craft capable of long-distance flight. In 1981, it successfully completed a 163 mile demonstration flight from France to England.

In 1990 the solar powered airplane Sunseeker successfully flew across the USA. It used a small battery charged by solar cells on the wing to drive a propeller for takeoff, and then flew on direct solar power and took advantage of soaring conditions when possible.

The Sunseeker II, built in 2002, was updated in 2005-2006 with a more powerful motor, larger wing, lithium battery packs and updated control electronics. In 2009 it became the first solar-powered aircraft to cross the Alps.

The new Boeing project is the proposed SolarEagle. The SolarEagle is the result of the Phantom Works research into unmanned aerial vehicles that are powered by renewable energy sources. The SolarEagle is designed to run off of electricity gathered by the sun’s rays. The really unique ability that the SolarEagle is bringing to the table is that it will supposedly be capable of flying non-stop in the stratosphere for a period of five years before being required to land.

The idea is that the craft can gather energy during the day from the sun and store it to run throughout the night in a premise that is similar to the manned solar craft the Solar Impulse team managed to successfully fly for twenty four hours in Switzerland. This happened in July 2010 when the plane made history by flying around the clock on the sun's energy alone, using 14 hours of sunshine to power its engines and charge its batteries for the night.

While the SolarEagle’s lofty goal of staying in the skies for nearly five years seems improbable, Boeing is confidant that the technology is already here. Boeing has received an $89 million contract to prepare the SolarEagle for a month long test flight in 2014. Once completed, the craft will have a wingspan of nearly 400 feet and will be designed to withstand the high winds of the upper stratosphere while utilizing a minimum amount of energy.

Perhaps one day people will routinely fly in solar planes that never need refueling. It will be a different world then.

By. Andy Soos of Environmental News Network




Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News