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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Airplane flies all night only on solar energy

A major achievement happened tonight: for the first time ever an airplane propelled alone with solar energy managed to fly a whole night.

The airplane, named Solar Impulse, has 12,000 photovoltaic cells, a wing span of 63.4 meters and weights 1600 kilograms. Piloted by André Borschberg, took flight yesterday from the Swiss town of Payerne reaching to 8700 meters of altitude, charging enough energy to stay flying around all night at the prudent speed of 50 km/h.

The duration of the flight, 26 hours, is in itself a record for this kind of vehicle, being the previous one in only 5 hours. Previously to tonight's achievement, the airplane had only flight for short periods.

One of the developers, Bertrand Piccard, plans to cross the Atlantic Ocean with the Solar Impulse and, by 2013, even circumnavigate the World on it.

Source: Gara[es].


joe90 kane said...

There is reckoned to be huge potential for renewable wave, wind and tidal energy in Sotland -
Renewable energy in Scotland

Not much renewable solar energy though!

Anyway, just to let Leherensuge know of this newspaper article on a recent archaeology discovery on the English East Coast.
It's very pre-recent ice age -
First humans arrived in Britain 250,000 years earlier than thought
07 July 2010

all the best

Maju said...

"Not much renewable solar energy though!"

A most unbelievable fact is that Germany, with less area and certainly much less solar input, has several times the solar energy production of Spain. A lot has to do with political will after all.

But sure: each country and region has its own peculiarities and it's about improving efficiency, not just in terms of nominal costs but in terms of real costs, including pollution risks. Fossil and nuclear energy are comparatively cheap mostly because pollution and accident risk costs are hidden. Whatever the damages renewables can cause, it is clear that they cannot cause a Chernobyl nor a Gulf oil spill, whose unmeasurable and brutal costs are not considered anywhere.

However it is also true that solar energy used to be comparatively costly but various recent breakthroughs are likely to radically change that anyhow.

"First humans arrived in Britain 250,000 years earlier than thought".

Thanks for the notice but I read about it already. What I did not notice till now is that they may also be among the most ancient remains in Europe.

Admittedly I was not paying enough attention. The emphasis on Britain was the tree that blocked my view from the forest.

For what I can see in my notebook (this blog) H. erectus (or similar) would have reached Europe c. 1.6 million years ago (Herault, France) but, besides this finding, the oldest known artifacts are from c. 900,000 years in Spain, which is similar to the British dates.

I don't pay the same attention to other Homo sp. as to Homo sapiens but maybe I'll make a comment on this finding after all because of its continental relevance.

joe90 kane said...

Thanks Maju.

Even your small comments are full of interest.

Admittedly I was not paying enough attention. The emphasis on Britain was the tree that blocked my view from the forest.
- I know what you mean.
Corporate journalists are rubbish - 'Britian' didn't exist c.14,000 years ago never mind c.950,000 years ago.

Anyway, it was the date of these artefacts and their association with human remains of similar date in north Spain which caught my eye - both new developments which might belong together.

all the best