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Radiant in Residential

Solar-powered planes

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 10:41

Every day there are approximately 93,000 airplane flights in the entire world, according to Flixxy. All of those planes are running on fossil fuels, which contribute to the pollution of our planet. While radiant heaters and other floor heating provide some solutions to the energy problem, at least in our homes, there hasn't been much development on alternatives to flying on renewable energy sources. Until now, that is, with the Solar Impulse 2.

The Solar Impulse 2 is a completely solar-powered airplane created by Swiss pioneers André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, reported Inhabitat. The first version of the Solar Impulse broke eight records for solar flight, and it is looking to break a few more with its descendant. With a wingspan of 72 meters, the plane is wider than a Boeing 747 jet even though it weighs around as much as a normal car. The aircraft had to be large enough to withstand fierce weather conditions, but also light enough to not waste any bit of power. On top of the large wings  are 17,248 solar cells that are only 135 microns in thickness. There covert the sunlight into power to be stored in four massive lithium polymer batteries.

Borschberg and Piccard hope that the Solar Impulse 2 will become the first plane to fly completely around the world using only solar energy. There's not much built in the interior besides a reclining chair for the pilot and a small bathroom in order to keep the weight down. The two inventors will each take turns piloting the plane because, with a top speed of only 35 mph, the journey is going to take some time. 

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