An aircraft powered by Solar Energy
Although solar energy has come a long way since it was first introduced, not many people would actually believe that someone could generate enough solar energy to power an entire plane.
The Solar Flight team decided to take on this challenge and the result is the Sunseeker Duo – the world’s first aircraft that runs on solar power. That by itself is no ordinary feat, but even more impressive is the fact that it can fly for almost 12 hours and it has the capacity to carry two people.
About the Sunseeker Duo
Eric Raymond, project leader for the Sunseeker Duo, first announced in 2012 that the Solar Flight team would be working on a solar powered 2- seater plane.
On the 13th of December 2013, this dream seemed to be on its way to becoming a reality as the company decided to test out their first version of the plane. The plane was not too stable during the first few tests, but this was corrected by adding a few more solar cells to the stabilizer.
The team has also been continuously testing various parts of the plane right from the propeller and landing gear systems to the battery system and the motor.
Energy Stored in lithium-polymer battery pack
The plane has a wingspan of 72 feet and it weighs 280kgs. There is a total of 1,518 solar cells that is being used on the plane.
The gathered energy is then stored in a lithium-polymer battery pack. According to the team, the main reason that they succeeded in this challenging endeavor was thanks to the invention of lithium batteries.
These batteries are much more efficient than the earlier nickel cadmium batteries that had been used on previous versions of this plane.
The invention of this plane is a huge leap in the field of solar powered technology. Solar Flight has not only managed to create a practical and high performing aircraft but they have managed to do so in the most ecological way possible.