Solar Impulse recently completed the first ever circumnavigation using a solar powered aircraft. So it might be an appropriate time to review the options as regards alternative fuelled aircraft.
Figure 1: Solar Impulse 2 completes its final landing
A long standing assumption of many has been that given the very high rates of energy consumption by aircraft and the heavy dependency of aviation on fossil fuels, once oil supplies peaked (or we were forced to curb consumption to fight climate change) this would mean the end of commercial aviation as we know it. No more cheap flights, no more holidays in the sun, the world would suddenly become a much larger place. However its possible that this may not be the case. The technology of Solar Impulse 2 hints at a range of possible solutions that are either in the works or already exist.
The eternal plane
Firstly the concept…
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