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A new solar-powered airship will fly around the world without stopping or refueling

Zero-emission long-distance aviation is definitely possible… As long as you don’t rush it. Solar Airship One It would take 20 days to fly a distance of approximately 40,000 km (~25,000 miles) around the equator in a single hop with no emissions. The entire upper surface of the 151-meter (495-foot) airship will be covered in solar film — about 4,800 square meters (51,700 square feet), or about nine-tenths of the size of an NFL football field for those who prefer standard units.

During the day, solar panels will power the airship’s electric propulsion systems and will also electrolyze water into hydrogen, storing additional energy for nighttime transportation. At night, hydrogen will flow through the fuel cell, keeping the energy running.

It will be led by a team of three: former French astronaut and Air Force pilot Michel Tognini, paraplegic plane crash survivor and aerobatic pilot Doreen Bourneton, and serial adventurer and “inspiration” Bertrand Piccard, who made the first successful non-stop flight. . He undertook a hot air balloon circumnavigation in 1999 and piloted Solar Impulse 2 on its first 16-and-a-half-month solar-powered circumnavigation in 2015-16.

Leaving the old calculator aside, it appears that the Euro Airship team expected the average speed to be just over 83 km/h (52 mph); So yes, that’s less than one-tenth the speed of the average fossil fuel airplane. However, airships have some important advantages; You can stop and take off at almost any point you want, even though there is no runway.

In fact, projects such as AirYacht and the loot-filled Airlander aim to reinvigorate airships as a form of luxury passenger travel, while others believe hydrogen-filled airships are the future of zero-emission cargo transport, carrying 8-10 times more cargo than airships. A cargo plane for a quarter the price and up to 10 times faster than a cargo ship.

The energy that Solar Airship One will use is renewable, but one of the key components is non-renewable. Its rigid structure is filled with 15 separate shells containing 50,000 cubic meters (1.77 million cubic feet) of helium. Fun fact: Helium is the only element on Earth that is absolutely irreplaceable because when it escapes into the air, it rises directly from the atmosphere and is launched into space.

The Euro Airship team is preparing for a zero-carbon environmental tour in 2026 near the equator and at an altitude of approximately 6,000 m (19,700 ft).

Source: Port Altele



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