Solar Powered Airplanes
Solar Impulse 2
Solar powered airplanes run only on sunlight. The Solar Impulse 2 was the first airplane to fly for 24 hours straight, powered only by the sun. The Solar Impulse 2 is covered with 17,000 solar cells that supply renewable energy for four electric motors. Its specially made lithium batteries can store enough energy during the day to keep it flying through the night. It is the first plane with unlimited endurance. It can fly for a whole day and night, a week, a month. Theoretically, it can fly a year.
What need is this technology fulfilling?
The Solar Impulse 2 is the first successful solar powered airplane. It is the most energy efficient plane ever built.
How this technology can be used to help businesses and humans
Solar powered planes save businesses a lot of money on fuel and the planes wouldn't have to stop to refill on gas. These planes would also benefit us as humans because it saves on oil. Our oil supply won't last forever. We burn 85 million barrels of oil a day. Solar powered planes would be much better for the environment. It would cut down on a lot of pollution.
The invention of a solar powered airplane is new technolgy. Right now the Solar Impulse 2 is only designed to fly one person. It may be a while before it is proved to be safe and practical for multiple passengers and then commercial flights.
How long this technology will last
When they are able to create these solar powered planes to be able to carry many passengers, I think they will eventually switch all the planes to being run on solar energy. I think solar powered planes will last very, very far into the future because planes are the most popular means of transportation for traveling long distances and overseas. This is the most energy efficient plane made yet. Until a better mode of overseas transportation is developed, I think that this type of plane would continue to be the most efficient and popular transportation available.
Solar powered planes save money on fuel and on the pollution that a regular airplane releases. The biggest cost would be for the research and development to ensure these planes were safe. At the moment it costs $62 million to make one Solar Impulse 2, which flies one person.