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Take off with solar powered planes

Solar powered planes are now a reality. Initiated by Bertrand Piccard – a Swiss psychiatrist and balloonist – Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) is the first solar powered plane due for manufacture at a commercial level. It took 13 years to develop (on March 2015) by a team of approximately 140 people. Built at a cost of USD150 million, Si2 has a 72-meter wingspan and weighs just over two tons.

Energy flows a cross four electric motors with over 17,000 solar cells spread across its wings. That is how Si2 covered a distance of 8,500km – nonstop between China to Hawaii – proving the potential of solar flights. The flight took off from China on 31 May 2015, which took approximately 6 days and 5 nights.

Not only this, Si2 can fly day and night for weeks, and has unlimited endurance as its solar cells recharge 633 kilogram lithium batteries. Furthermore, if these planes were available on a larger scale, it may save up to 50% of the current global fossil energy consumption and brighten our hopes of limited energy consumption.

Will solar planes soon replace conventional fuel-driven aircrafts?

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