Solar Impulse

From Open Energy Information


About Solar Impulse Solar Impulse is a plane flying completely on solar power through photovoltaic cells. The plane has 12,000 solar cells that run four electric engines. The Swiss and Germans have been working and developing this plane for the past seven years. The goal is for it to make a long distance flight by 2012 and should be able to altitudes of 28,000 feet. The plane requires no fuel, therefore gives off no emissions.

Flights In December 2009 the plane took its first flight, going a whole 350 meters at the Zurich airport. The next flight was April 7, 2010; flying eighty-seven minutes over the Swiss countryside and went to an altitude of 4,000 feet. Both of these flights were during the day. That is the problem with solar power; how can we keep it working at night when sunlight is no longer available? Recently photovoltaic cells have been developed to be more efficient and be able to hold energy well into the dark. So on July 7, 2010 Solar Impulse made its first day into night flight; flying for a whole 26 hours! It flew at 27,000 feet during the day where it stored all of its energy then at night dropped down to 4500 feet.