July 13th, 2015
It’s long been established that solar power is the way to the future. It is free and abundant and can power pretty much anything. Even a plane.
Meet the appropriately named ‘Solar Impulse’: A Swiss-made prototype of an experimental solar-powered aircraft and a privately funded project by André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard.
Equipped with 17,000 solar cells, the Solar Impulse is on its journey around the world. It has been in the headlines for becoming the first aircraft to break certain world records, all in one flight. What exactly has been achieved you ask? This –
Piloted by Borschberg, a veteran pilot, the Solar Impulse has made a flight from Japan to Hawaii (flight period between 28th June and 6th July), setting new records for the world’s longest solar-powered flight with respect to both time and distance, and longest solo flight, with respect to time, for any aircraft. The plane flew for just a smudge under 118 hours, covering 8,774 km in one flight.
That’s impressive in its own right but there is one more tidbit : the plane actually flew for longer and further than what most small to mid-size jet planes can manage.
Piccard has said that “This is a clear message that clean technologies can achieve impossible goals.”
And this is why the future really does belong to the ‘clean’ energy. For the most part, things may sound humdrum on the surface in this regard but projects like the Solar Impulse are testaments to the potential of energy, sources such as the Sun, can provide. All we need now, is to harness it. Literally. As the technology of solar panels and batteries improves, we will be able to produce more efficient systems and hopefully, be soon able to replace the conventional gas-guzzling power sources altogether.
That frontier is already being explored, especially in the field of mass transport. The technology is there. It only needs to be mature enough to be really put into practice. Solar Impulse has proven to be successful, beyond all expectations. That is why it is the future.
via – TOI