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  • sunnysun
    started a topic solar powered airplanes

    solar powered airplanes

    I was thinking about the possibilities of using solar panels on planes/jets in lieu of fueling them with jet fuel.

    Is this even feasible or would the weight of the panels be too much for the planes to handle? Are there other issues that would stand in the way of panels?

    Maybe there are already solar technologies in use on planes?

    I don't really know anything about it?

    Anyone else have any thoughts?

  • audrey.hudges
    replied
    I guess, it is possible to have a solar powered airplane and it really depends on the capacity of the plane. It is better to have a safety test before you will take it on travel.

    Mod note - last of the trash links - banned
    Last edited by russ; 08-12-2012, 10:01 AM. Reason: removed link

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  • Andrew18
    replied
    Solar power is new to me. Thats one reason why I'm here. Your statement is very true and I'm not that blind to the fact. Thanks for the info.
    -Andrew


    Originally posted by DBaldwin View Post
    I started working at a solar store not to long ago. I started with some general knowledge, not a ton. I used to joke with the guys working there about a solar vacuum. Its a joke because solar just doesn't work that way, and it seems like everyone is wasting all this time trying to power the things in there homes that require huge amounts of electrical power. Don't get solar thinking you'll run your refrigerator, and heaters off it. instead get solar to cut costs. If your panels are covering all the little things your bill is going to be a lot less. Also with out the grid you HAVE TO HAVE BATTERIES, they are expensive and need replaced. Yesterday our battery guy came and my shoulders still feel them so putting lets say 500lbs of batteries in a glider just seems foolish (or a car ever wonder why those solar cars look so funny, they have a huge battery bank). There are better ways of doing this, much better ways than having UAVs flying around New York broadcasting XM radio.

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  • DBaldwin
    replied
    I started working at a solar store not to long ago. I started with some general knowledge, not a ton. I used to joke with the guys working there about a solar vacuum. Its a joke because solar just doesn't work that way, and it seems like everyone is wasting all this time trying to power the things in there homes that require huge amounts of electrical power. Don't get solar thinking you'll run your refrigerator, and heaters off it. instead get solar to cut costs. If your panels are covering all the little things your bill is going to be a lot less. Also with out the grid you HAVE TO HAVE BATTERIES, they are expensive and need replaced. Yesterday our battery guy came and my shoulders still feel them so putting lets say 500lbs of batteries in a glider just seems foolish (or a car ever wonder why those solar cars look so funny, they have a huge battery bank). There are better ways of doing this, much better ways than having UAVs flying around New York broadcasting XM radio.

    Leave a comment:


  • Andrew18
    replied
    Very cool.

    Oh wow. Thats very cool. Thanks for sharing it. Do you still fly?
    -Andrew

    Originally posted by Tesla View Post
    Andrew, I'm into R/C as well and there was a group of guys who built a R/C airplane around our filed....before it became a highway and we left to another location. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZlc-...eature=related

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  • Tesla
    replied
    Originally posted by Andrew18 View Post
    As a total new guy to the solar world. I think the idea of a solar powered plane is very cool. A lot of ideas come from the modeling world. A small r/c plane today, then a mid sized ultralite tomorrow. Some day a full scale Cub.
    As a BIG fan of r/c planes, I would love to build a solar powered r/c plane. I just might have to try it. Maybe a build thread here on SPT.
    -Andrew
    Andrew, I'm into R/C as well and there was a group of guys who built a R/C airplane around our filed....before it became a highway and we left to another location. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZlc-...eature=related

    Leave a comment:


  • russ
    replied
    Andrew - the plane in question is pretty much a glider - any cargo allowance is virtually zero. It is a platform in the air. Another generation of technology comes along with lightweight storage and better conversion ratios maybe more can be done but today it is a classroom type project.

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  • Andrew18
    replied
    As a total new guy to the solar world. I think the idea of a solar powered plane is very cool. A lot of ideas come from the modeling world. A small r/c plane today, then a mid sized ultralite tomorrow. Some day a full scale Cub.
    As a BIG fan of r/c planes, I would love to build a solar powered r/c plane. I just might have to try it. Maybe a build thread here on SPT.
    -Andrew

    Leave a comment:


  • russ
    replied
    Originally posted by billvon View Post
    A solar powered UAV that could remain aloft for years and serve as a transmitter to beam TV or XM-type audio to everyone in a city sounds pretty practical. So far they've remained up there for up to two weeks at a time. Keep in mind we have solar powered satellites up there that have been pretty useful over the years.
    Two totally different items - by a few thousand percent.

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  • russ
    replied
    Comments within the text in bold - fixed solar powering something is the way it is used today - with the exception of NASA. Solar power on ships has been played up in the past by greens - however the amount of power generated is zilch compared to the ships power requirements - they have trouble using an extension cord.

    Originally posted by billvon View Post
    Our R+D department works on several pie in the sky things. Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, new switcher topologies, long distance wireless power transmission, you name it. Our CTO has told us that a 90% failure rate (i.e. failure to monetize) is a good score - because historically those 10% that turn out to be profitable have been _very_ profitable.

    Your CTO is correct and that is for promising technologies - what the universities work on is probably closer to 1 in 1000. That is what universities are supposed to do.

    Solar power system on a parking garage charging the EV's parked within. We've got that here. At any given time the campus is charging about 20 EV's (we only have 15 chargers so far but a lot of people are using the Level 1 outlets) and we have 417kW of solar on those parking garages.

    Oh gee! A car charged from the grid is identical - what the post meant as I see it is solar PV on the car.

    50kW solar power systems built into each station feeding the catenary of a trolley system. Catenary functions as the power distribution system. There's already a solar powered trolley demonstration system in Pittsburgh.
    Again - same as grid connected for all practical purposes - the solar panels are in a fixed location

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  • billvon
    replied
    Originally posted by russ View Post
    Pray tell what the purpose of this useless information is? The aircraft mentioned is a university toy with zero practical applications.
    A solar powered UAV that could remain aloft for years and serve as a transmitter to beam TV or XM-type audio to everyone in a city sounds pretty practical. So far they've remained up there for up to two weeks at a time. Keep in mind we have solar powered satellites up there that have been pretty useful over the years.

    Leave a comment:


  • billvon
    replied
    Originally posted by russ View Post
    Hi Keith - No, that is not what R&D is about - R&D is aimed at a end use, not a pie in the sky.
    Our R+D department works on several pie in the sky things. Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, new switcher topologies, long distance wireless power transmission, you name it. Our CTO has told us that a 90% failure rate (i.e. failure to monetize) is a good score - because historically those 10% that turn out to be profitable have been _very_ profitable.

    I am all for R&D but too many get it confused with 1) Green BS, 2) University games (which are fine for the students learning) and 3) Buzz words thrown up by someone wanting to collect investors money

    Tell me how solar will power a car in the next years - not a university toy but a real car
    Solar power system on a parking garage charging the EV's parked within. We've got that here. At any given time the campus is charging about 20 EV's (we only have 15 chargers so far but a lot of people are using the Level 1 outlets) and we have 417kW of solar on those parking garages.

    Tell me how solar will power a train in the next 100 years?
    50kW solar power systems built into each station feeding the catenary of a trolley system. Catenary functions as the power distribution system. There's already a solar powered trolley demonstration system in Pittsburgh.

    Leave a comment:


  • russ
    replied
    Originally posted by crotalus View Post
    Russ,

    That's what Research and Development is all about, to try things and see what happens. Airplanes today tomorrow who knows what. Cars? Trains? One thing for sure if you don't try new things you will never have to worry about failure. I think it's neat stuff even if it turns into a weapon.

    Keith
    Hi Keith - No, that is not what R&D is about - R&D is aimed at a end use, not a pie in the sky.

    I am all for R&D but too many get it confused with 1) Green BS, 2) University games (which are fine for the students learning) and 3) Buzz words thrown up by someone wanting to collect investors money


    Tell me how solar will power a car in the next years - not a university toy but a real car
    Tell me how solar will power a train in the next 100 years?

    Leave a comment:


  • crotalus
    replied
    Russ,

    That's what Research and Development is all about, to try things and see what happens. Airplanes today tomorrow who knows what. Cars? Trains? One thing for sure if you don't try new things you will never have to worry about failure. I think it's neat stuff even if it turns into a weapon.

    Keith

    Leave a comment:


  • Sunking
    replied
    Originally posted by russ View Post
    Pray tell what the purpose of this useless information is?
    Actually there is a purpose for such an aircraft although be it military application for spying and communications. NASA built and test Helios in 2001 that achieved a world record altitude before crashing into the ocean.

    It has not been done yet but the idea is you can send up a solar power power assisted glider up to 80,000 feet carrying cameras and radio transponders for communication above a battle field for surveillance and repeater radio operations for ground forces. At night it glides with a very low sink rate of less than 100/fpm, and then during the day climb.

    Leave a comment:

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