After becoming stranded on Hawaii due to problems with the airplane zero-fuel electrical supply, Solar Impulse, the plane trying to set records for making it around the world on nothing but solar power, made it to California late last month.
Its stranding was related to power system issues, leading to the batteries and power delivery system needing repairs and replacements while it was stranded. The repairs delayed additional trips for nearly ¾ of a year.
Now, Solar Impulse is now lifting off again, and it is headed from Silicon Valley, California to Phoenix, Arizona. It should arrive by Tuesday.
This is the 10th trip Solar Impulse has taken during its attempt to get from its original destination, around the world, and back to its original destination. As the cycle becomes more and more complete, it’s getting closer to reaching its goals.
Solar Impulse is like the Tesla of airplanes. Technically called an aeroplane, it has 17,000 photovoltaic cells on its top that are constantly sucking in Sun light and converting it to useable energy, which gets stored on the plane’s battery arrays.
Whether the plane is sitting on the ground, or flying through the air, the Sun simultaneously charges the plane’s batteries and powers the propellers that get it from point A to point B.
Although the idea behind Solar Impulse very much shows the power of solar energy and how it can be harnessed for future endeavors in the aviation world, the project is more of a proof of concept than an attempt to make all airplanes solar powered.
After all, Solar Impulse is very light, and commercial airplanes would be way too heavy to convert to solar power from jet engines. Solar Impulse is really just a proof of concept that shows where solar power and batteries are headed and why they are a viable power source for a variety of things.