Why the solar-powered aeroplanes aren’t getting as much attention as they should be
The solar-electric aircraft could be a game changer for global climate change and solar power in general, but it’s also an interesting engineering problem.
The concept of an aeroplain — the vehicle that takes off vertically from a runway or landing strip and makes a vertical climb — has been around for a long time.
But until recently, researchers had mostly focused on the technology behind the craft itself.
Now, it looks like the aeroplains are getting more attention than they should, thanks to a new research paper published today in Nature.
This is the first time that a solar-based aircraft has been able to get off the ground on an aircraft carrier, the researchers say.
The technology behind this breakthrough was developed by researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Boulder, Colorado, and has the potential to be a key component in the solar energy industry.
The researchers, led by John Fuchs, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at NREL, have developed a novel approach to building a solar powered aeroplANE that would be able to take off vertically and land on a carrier.
“Aeroplanes are the most challenging engineering problems to solve because of their complexity and low surface area,” Fuchs told CNN.
“Our design solves that problem by making aeroplano a single-stage system,” which is designed to fly as a single unit on an existing aircraft carrier.
“Aerojet Rocketdyne has developed a unique system for solar powered aircraft that has demonstrated high performance and low cost,” Fumbles said.
“We believe this approach will be adopted in the aerospace industry to meet the needs of global climate leadership.”
The researchers created a design called the SolarAero.
It is a single engine, two-seat aeroplayer that takes in air, then converts it into electricity.
A single rotor blade spins at speeds of up to 8,000 rpm, and the engine burns hydrogen to produce energy.
The solar cells are made of carbon nanotubes that produce electricity.
The wings and tail fins are made from titanium.
The wing is made from carbon fiber, and carbon fiber is lighter than titanium.
In addition to its aerodynamic performance, the solar powered vehicle is able to use a lot of energy.
When it lands on a ship, the aerodynamic energy generated by the wings and tails of the solar aeroplayers is converted to lift by the wing-and-tail system, allowing the solar propulsion vehicle to get up and run.
AeroJet Rocketdynes chief technology officer John Fuss said that the new design can make the solar aircraft a viable energy source in the future.
“The energy generated when the wings or the tail of an aircraft are used to generate lift, and when this energy is released from the wings to power the solar motor, will provide sufficient energy for the propulsion system to operate,” Fuss told CNN in an email.
“This energy is enough to power a small number of small aircraft at cruising altitude and even in rough weather conditions.”
Fuss also noted that the design has the advantage of making it more sustainable, because it’s a carbon-free and renewable energy source.
Solar aeroplanners could also help develop other renewable energy technologies, such as renewable hydrogen fuel cells and wind turbines.
The SolarAerospace concept is one of the first in a series of research efforts to make solar powered vehicles a reality, according to Fuchs.
NREL’s SolarAEROPL aircraft, which is also known as the Solar-Aeropower, has been developed as a collaborative project between researchers from around the world.
It is expected to be commercialized in 2018, but not before researchers have spent more than a decade developing and testing the concept.