Posts Tagged ‘photovoltaic cells’

20 May

Revisiting Solar Impulse HB-SIA & HB-SIB


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links below)


Updates on our Solar-FIT For Sunshine State petition: 163 signatures strong. We need more! Please help us to spread more sunshine by signing this petition and sharing it with others. It is our shared responsibility to move toward the renewable energy age and Sunshine is the cleanest, healthiest, and least war-prone way to go! Thank you.

got a message from Solar Impulse — the solar airplane that is flying across the United States right now. The plane is carrying a message encouraging governments, CEOs, and other decision-makers to support and deploy clean technologies.  Because I signed up, my name is going to be carried in the cockpit of the plane.  You should add your name too — the more names the plane carries, the stronger the clean technology message will be on the ground. So far, over 16,000 Friends are virtual passengers in the cockpit.  You can add your name by clicking here — it only takes 30 seconds. Thanks! sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker __________________________________________________________________________________________
Due to the ongoing Across America mission of Solar Impulse, I’d like to share one of our earlier posts from 2011 on:  Solar Plane, the Swiss Solar Impulse HB-SIA, below, undertaken at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne.  This project was initiated in 2003 and then promoted by Bertrand Piccard (who co-piloted the first balloon to circle the world non-stop);it has grown to a multi-disciplinary team of 50 specialists from six countries and assisted by about 100 outside advisers.

What a terrific way to prove that we, the earthlings, are capable of freeing ourselves from the dependence on oil !  Through the clean tech of  solar energy, SOLARIMPULSE has brought us not only the physical possibility of  the first manned flight over night  (lasted about 26 hours) by solar powered plane in July 2010, but also the message to educators throughout planet earth the importance of  motivating children and students the pioneering spirit and developing new ways of thinking about future, energy, environment , and online education.

Solar Plane-Swiss Solar Impulse HB-SIA, a long-range solar powered plane

Please be sure to view these three FANTASTIC clips below (I could not help but share the feeling of exuberance and hope for mankind in viewing these clips….I was almost in tears….) :

    1. Solar Impulse-Best of 2010, below:


  1. Solar Impulse-Best of Night Flight at ( )

The prototype HB-SIA has a non-pressurized cockpit, a similar wingspan to the Airbus A340, lithium polymer batteries under the wing, 12,000 photovoltaic cells on the upper wing surface and the horizontal stabilizer generate electricity during the day. These photovoltaic cells and horizontal stabilizer propel the plane and charge the batteries to allow night flight, theoretically enabling the single-seat plane to stay in the air indefinitely.  On July 8, 2010, HB-SIA achieved the world’s first manned 26-hour solar flight, flown by Andre Borschberg (started on July 7, 2010, from an airfield in Payenne, Switzerland).

To top HB-SIA, the HB-SIB is planned in the future, with a pressurized cockpit (with supplemental oxygen and various environmental support to the pilot to allow a cruise altitude of 12,000 m (39,000 ft) and advanced avionics to allow for transcontinental and trans-oceanic flights, with wingspan of 80.0 m (262.5 ft), slightly wider than the 79.75 m (261.6 ft) wingspan of an Airbus A380 ( the largest passenger airliner in the world). Solar Impulse HB-SIB requires the development of new materials and construction methods. Solvay has invented electrolytes that allow the energy density of the batteries to be increased;Bayer Material Sciences is utilizing its nanotechnologies for this project;and Decision is using lighter carbon fibers than seen in any previous projects. HB-SIB will undergo the same structural strength and vibration testing as for HB-SIA. Flight testing for HB-SIB is planned for Spring of 2014 and the round-the-world flight for between April and July of 2015;the flight would circle the world in the northern hemisphere near the equator and five stops are planned to change pilots.  Once improved battery efficiency allows the reduced  weight, a two-seater is envisaged to make a non-stop circumnavigation.

One cannot help but sense the inevitable success of  SOLAR ENERGY….upon the horizon…

Another lesson I have learned from this project…the importance of spirit of cooperation among all earthlings….it is time to shed the barriers of nationalism in order to reach the survival of humankind/earthlings….

* 1 inch = 1/12  ft = 2.54 centimeters (or cm)= 0.0254 meter (or m)

Your comments, questions, suggestions are always welcomed either publicly (via comments below) or privately (via

Written & Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,

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3 May

Our Future In:Solar Impulse HB-SIA Across America Mission


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links below)


Our update on Solar-FIT For Sunshine State petition: 161 signatures! Please join us by signing and sharing this petition with others


This just came down the wire! About four hours ago, Solar Impulse (in our previous posts of Solar Impulse HB-SIA-Solar Plane (1) and HB-SIA Solar Plane (2))

Solar Impulse HB-SIA

took off on the first leg (between San Francisco and Phoenix) of an aerial odyssey across America without a drop of fuel! Solar Impulse, piloted by Bertrand Piccard this morning, took off from Moffett Field into the Bay Area’s skies at 9:12 A.M. ET and headed south toward Arizona. “A flying laboratory for clean technologies, this prototype is the result of seven years of intense work in the fields of materials science, energy management and man-machine interface,” Andre Borschberg, Solar Impulse’s co-founder and CEO, said before the flight. Borschberg and Piccard will be taking turns in the pilot’s seat for a month-long series of flights that will end up in New York around July 4th. Each leg of this odyssey will be streamed from this site and the project plans to collect thousands of names that will be added to a “Clean Generation” list of supporters carried in the cockpit.

All of Solar Impulse’s power comes from its 12,000 photovoltaic cells on the upper wing surface and store the electrical energy in its lithium polymer batteries under the wing when the sun isn’t shining. This carbon fiber aircraft has a long/wide wingspan and light design because the plane generates as much power as a motor scooter for its four 10-horsepower motors.

Just a quick refresher on Solar Impulse: Its pilot and co-founder Piccard is a record-setting, round-the-world balloonist who draws financial backing from Swiss business. In 2010 Solar Impulse took on the world’s first solar-powered 26-hour night flight in Switzerland. In 2011, it completed the first international solar flight from Switzerland, Belgium to France. In 2012, it completed the first solar-powered intercontinental flight from Europe to North Africa.

In the next few months Solar Impulse will be flying from Phoenix to Dallas-Fort Worth, then to St. Louis, Washington, and New York. For Borschberg and Piccard, this is simply a warm-up before their future ultimate goal and venture in circumnavigating the world with solar power. Allow me to share with you a short video clip: view of Solar Impulse’s HB-SIA and Piccard’s comments:

Allow me to leave you with what Solar Impulse represents, “We are a people-powered movement challenging conventional thinking to inspire innovation, hope and action among citizens and policymakers. Together, let’s promote this pioneering spirit!”

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and/or suggestions will be welcomed at


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29 January

Solar Powered Plane, The Solar Impulse Reminds Us That The Ultimate Power Is The SUN


Dear Friends, Viewers/Visitors/Readers,

(Please click on red links below for more information).

If you’ve been following Sun Is The Future since 2011, you may remember the two posts on Solar Impulse that I wrote about on July 14, 2011:  Solar Impulse HB-SIA-Solar Plane (1) and Solar Impulse-SIA-Solar Plane (2).  For those of you visiting Sun Is The Future for the first time, here are some information provided by wikipedia, below:

Solar Impulse is a Swiss long-range solar powered aircraft project being undertaken at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. The project eventually hopes to achieve the first circumnavigation of the Earth by a piloted fixed-wing aircraft using only solar power. The project is led by Swiss psychiatrist and aeronaut Bertrand Piccard, who co-piloted the first balloon to circle the world non-stop, and Swiss businessman André Borschberg.  The first aircraft, bearing the Swiss aircraft registration code of HB-SIA, is a single-seater monoplane, capable of taking off under its own power, and intended to remain airborne up to 36 hours.

This aircraft first flew an entire diurnal solar cycle, including nearly nine hours of night flying, in a 26-hour flight on July 7-8, 2010. In 2012, Piccard and Borschberg conducted successful solar flights from Switzerland to Spain and Morocco. In 2013, plans call for a flight from California to Virginia.  Building on the experience of this prototype, a slightly larger follow-on design (HB-SIB) is planned to make a circumnavigation of the globe in 20–25 days. This flight was initially planned for 2014, but following a structural failure of the aircraft’s main spar during static testing, a more likely date is 2015.

Piccard initiated the Solar Impulse project in 2003. By 2009, he had assembled a multi-disciplinary team of 50 specialists from six countries, assisted by about 100 outside advisers. The project is financed by a number of private companies. The four main partners are Deutsche BankOmega SASolvay, and Schindler. Other partners include Bayer MaterialScience, Altran and Swisscom. Other supporters include ClarinsSemper, Toyota, BKW and STG. The EPFL, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Dassault have provided additional technical expertise, while SunPower provided the aircraft’s photovoltaic cells.

With a non-pressurized cockpit and a limited flight ceiling, the HB-SIA is primarily a demonstrator design. The plane has a similar wingspan to the Airbus A340 airliner. Under the wing are four nacelles, each with a set of lithium polymer batteries, a 10 hp (7.5 kW) motor and a twin-bladed propeller. To keep the wing as light as possible, a customised carbon fibre honeycomb sandwich structure is used. 11,628 photovoltaic cells on the upper wing surface and the horizontal stabilizer generate electricity during the day. These both propel the plane and charge its batteries to allow flight at night, theoretically enabling the single-seat plane to stay in the air indefinitely. The first manned flight overnight lasted about 26 hours in July of 2010.

The aircraft’s major design constraint is the capacity of the lithium polymer batteries. Over an ideal 24-hour cycle, the motors will deliver a combined average of about 8 hp (6 kW), roughly the power used by the Wright brothers‘ pioneering Flyer in 1903. As well as the charge stored in its batteries, the aircraft uses the potential energy of height gained during the day to power its night flights.

On  June 26, 2009, the Solar Impulse was first presented to the public in Dübendorf, Switzerland. Following taxi testing, a short-hop test flight was made on December 3, 2009, piloted by Markus Scherdel.

On  April 7,  2010, the HB-SIA conducted an extended 87-minute test flight, piloted by Markus Scherdel. This flight reached an altitude of 1,200 m (3,937 ft).

On May 28,  2012, the aircraft made its first flight powered entirely by solar energy, charging its batteries in flight. On July 8, 2010. the HB-SIA achieved the world’s first manned 26-hour solar powered flight.  The airplane was flown by Andre Borschberg, and took off at 6:51 a.m.Central European Summer Time (UTC+2) on July 7 from an airfield in Payerne, Switzerland.  It returned for a landing the following morning at 9:00 a.m. local time.  During the flight, the plane reached a maximum altitude of 8,700 m (28,500 ft).  At the time, the flight was the longest and highest ever flown by a manned solar-powered aircraft; these records were officially recognized by the Federation Aeronoautique Internationale (FAI) in October, 2010. On  May 13, 2011, at approximately 21:30 local time, HB-SIA landed at Brussels Airport,





Solar Impulse aircraft at Brussels Airport in May of 2011





after completing a 13-hour flight from its home base in Switzerland. It was the first international flight by the Solar Impulse, which flew at an average altitude of 6,000 ft (1,829 m) for a distance of 630 km (391 mi), with an average speed of 50 km/h (31 mph). The aircraft’s slow cruising speed required operating at a mid-altitude, allowing much faster air traffic to be routed around it. The aircraft was piloted by Andre Borschberg. The project’s other co-founder, Bertrand Piccard, said in an interview after the landing: “Our goal is to create a revolution in the minds of people…to promote solar energies — not necessarily a revolution in aviation. A second international flight to the Paris Air Show was attempted on  June 12, 2011, but the plane turned back half-way and landed back in Brussels, where it had taken off, due to adverse weather conditions. In a second attempt on  June 14, André Borschberg successfully landed the aircraft at Paris’ Le Bourget Airport at 9:15 pm after a 16-hour flight.

On  June 5, 2012, the Solar Impulse successfully completed its first intercontinental flight, flying a 19-hour trip from Madrid, Spain, to Rabat, Morocco. During the first leg of the flight from Payerne, Switzerland, to Madrid, the aircraft broke several further records for solar flight, including the longest solar-powered flight between pre-declared waypoints (1,099.3 km (683 mi)) and along a course (1,116 km (693 mi)).  Below is a video clip of CBS News 60 Minutes on Solar Impulse in December of 2012:


Construction of the second Solar Impulse aircraft, carrying the Swiss registration HB-SIB, started in 2011. It will feature a larger, pressurized cockpit and advanced avionics to allow for transcontinental and trans-oceanic flightsSupplemental oxygen and various other environmental support systems will allow the pilot to cruise at an altitude of 12,000 meters (39,000 ft). The wingspan of HB-SIB will be 80.0 m (262.5 ft), slightly wider than an Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger airliner,but unlike the 500-ton A380, the carbon-fibre Solar Impulse will weigh little more than an average automobile. Completion was planned for 2013, with a circumnavigation of the globe in 20–25 days in 2014. However, following a structural failure of the main spar during static tests, a more likely date for the circumnavigation is 2015. The flight would circle the world in the northern hemisphere, near the equator. Five stops are planned to allow changes of pilots. Each leg of the flight will last three to four days, limited by the physiology of each pilot. Once improved battery efficiency makes it possible to reduce the aircraft’s weight, a two-seater is envisaged to make a non-stop circumnavigation.

Gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any of your comments/suggestions/questions are welcomed at


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