Place your bets.

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Aug 10, 2004
2,702
2
While a wonderful idea, and I'm all for the technology, this seems to be a bit of a reach. Of course all break throughs are, and I want this to work, but.....
A Swiss adventurer announced this week he plans to fly around the world in a solar powered airplane.

Bertrand Piccard is building the craft, called Solar Impluse, with the help of the European Space Agency (ESA). The purpose of his flight, scheduled for 2010, is to show what renewable energies and new technologies can do.

"Solar Impulse will promote the idea of a new aviation era using cleaner planes powered by the almost infinite energy of the Sun rather than the dirty, finite reserves of fossil fuels," Piccard said.

The space agency relies on the Sun to power its satellites, and has developed "efficient solar cells, intelligent energy management systems and resourceful storage systems," said Pierre Brisson, head of ESAs Technology Transfer Program.

"We will make available this expertise, together with our advanced technologies, to support Piccards effort to demonstrate the potential of sustainable development," Brisson said.

In 1999, Piccard made the first non-stop around the world balloon-flight. His copilot for that flight, Brian Jones, will be one of Solar Impulses three pilots. When Solar Impulse makes its journey in 2010, Piccard and Andre Borschberg, Solar Impulses CEO, will join Jones in the cockpit.
 

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iBlue

macrumors Core
Mar 17, 2005
19,174
15
London, England
I'm happy someone is trying this, it sort of makes a statement about the whole cleaner energy school of thought. we are really foolish for using up all those finite resources and I hope one day there is a better answer. for now it is all about control and greed <- the reasons we have not had much progress in the fields like this.

this is good news
 

ham_man

macrumors 68020
Jan 21, 2005
2,265
0
goodtimes5 said:
What an age we live in. Makes me wonder why we still run on coal and such.
Well you can't just dig solar panels out of the ground...:rolleyes:

Really glad to see that technology is advancing. Hopefully this can become truly feasable one of these days...
 

yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
15,925
1
Portland, OR
Good luck dude, would be nice if you could make it.. but I think people always forget one thing. How would this make you feel?

"Welcome aboard the Solar Impluse, sir. Just sit back and enjoy your leisurely ride from New York to Zurich. It should take just over 12 hours. Tonight's in-flight film will be "The Best of Paulie Shore". Enjoy your flight!"


NNNNNOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
 

runninmac

macrumors 65816
Jan 20, 2005
1,495
0
Rockford MI
goodtimes5 said:
What an age we live in. Makes me wonder why we still run on coal and such.
And then when we do use this technology we will have already poluted the plant so much we are going to be having kids walking around with 3 arms. Hmm...
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,194
6
Adelaide, Australia
runninmac said:
And then when we do use this technology we will have already poluted the plant so much we are going to be having kids walking around with 3 arms. Hmm...

It's called evolution. They'll be able to act as flight attendants and show us where the exits are much more efficiently. :)
 

Sharewaredemon

macrumors 68000
May 31, 2004
1,927
83
Cape Breton Island
mad jew said:
It's called evolution. They'll be able to act as flight attendants and show us where the exits are much more efficiently. :)

Good one!

Seeing that picture reminds me of a Stewie quote from Familgy Guy. It goes something like this, though I can't remember it that well.
I vaguely remember seeing something about this on tv, which makes me think, that this probably isn't going to work
I wish I could find the a screen of what Stewie looks like in this scene.
 

cube

macrumors P6
May 10, 2004
16,476
4,654
goodtimes5 said:
What an age we live in. Makes me wonder why we still run on coal and such.
This 1-person plane will have a wingspan like that of a 747.
 

wrldwzrd89

macrumors G5
Jun 6, 2003
12,106
73
Solon, OH
cube said:
This 1-person plane will have a wingspan like that of a 747.
Maybe, maybe not...as solar cells get more efficient, the required wingspan will be smaller. The highest efficiency I found from a Google search was 36%. Just imagine how much better solar cells will get by 2010...I would not be surprised if 40%, 50%, 60%, or even 70% efficiency had been achieved by then. If solar cell efficiency hits 80% or even 90% by then, the required number of solar panels will drop drastically.
 

cube

macrumors P6
May 10, 2004
16,476
4,654
wrldwzrd89 said:
Maybe, maybe not...as solar cells get more efficient, the required wingspan will be smaller. The highest efficiency I found from a Google search was 36%. Just imagine how much better solar cells will get by 2010...I would not be surprised if 40%, 50%, 60%, or even 70% efficiency had been achieved by then. If solar cell efficiency hits 80% or even 90% by then, the required number of solar panels will drop drastically.
It WILL have a wingspan of about 80m:

http://www.solar-impulse.com/scripts/page716.html
 

leekohler

macrumors G5
Dec 22, 2004
14,162
19
Chicago, Illinois
MongoTheGeek said:
BP makes a boat load of money on Solar Cells. (well a medium sized dingy)

Solar cells degrade over time. I don't remember the numbers on them. There is some profit in it even after everyone has them.
But not as much profit as natural gas, coal and oil.