Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Solar Impulse To Partner With Google

The company behind Solar Impulse, the first solar airplane capable of flying day and night without using any fuel, is partnering with Google to help promote its goal of circumnavigating the globe in 2015 using only solar energy.

What’s often forgotten is that the Solar Impulse wasn’t the first solar plane to cross the United States. In the summer of 1990, 23 years ago, the Sunseeker performed a similar feat. Designed and flown by Eric Raymond, then a 33-year-old California engineer, Sunseeker flew across the country, making 21 stops over the course of a summer, spending 121 hours in the air.

It bears remembering how far away 1990 is in terms of technology. The latest cellphone was the bulky Motorola MicroTAC. The must-have computer was the Amiga 3000. The 1990 Sunseeker had amorphous silicon solar cells whose efficiency was just about 2 percent. There were almost 11 square meters of them, on the curvy top part of the wings, the tail boom, and the tailplane. The motor produced a paltry 2.4 kilowatts.

By comparison, the Solar Impulse is a giant. It was able to cross the United States in only six long stages, because it’s able to fly at night. The plane is much bigger, both in mass (1600 kilograms) and wingspan (63.4 meters). It’s powered by four 7.5-kW engines. The power train, whose total efficiency is rated at 12 percent, is powered by 200 m2 of solar cells.

Solar Impulse will work with the Silicon Valley-based Internet giant to enhance the company's social media presence leading up to the planned flight around the world. Google's various online or mobile platforms, including YouTube, Google+, Google Earth and Google Glass will be used to share information and multimedia with Solar Impulse supporters, company officials said.

"This partnership is a unique occasion to promote mutually shared values like pioneering spirit, innovation, engineering excellence and clean technologies allowing [us] to protect natural resources," Solar Impulse co-founders Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg said in a statement. "With Google on board, our reach with the public, younger generations, media and political and business decision makers will be significantly enhanced."

The newly announced partnership is the product of a successful collaboration with Google during Solar Impulse's record-setting, coast-to-coast flight across the United States this past summer, according to company officials.

This summer, the ultra-lightweight Solar Impulse plane completed a two-month-long cross-country flight, touching down in New York City on July 6 to wrap up a historic flight that included stops in Phoenix, Dallas, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Washington, D.C. Solar Impulse's coast-to-coast trip began on May 3 at Moffett Airfield near San Francisco, Calif.

Each leg of Solar Impulse's summer journey was broadcast online, featuring real-time updates on the plane's position, altitude and speed, and live views inside the aircraft's cockpit. As part of the company's new partnership with Google, upcoming Solar Impulse flights will include in-flight Google Hangouts to better connect the pilots with members of the public, Solar Impulse officials said.

The Solar Impulse aircraft is able to fly throughout the day and night without burning any fuel. The plane is powered entirely by solar panels and onboard batteries, which charge during the day to enable the plane to continue flying when the sun goes down.

The carbon-fiber plane weighs about the same as a small car, and generates roughly the same power as a small scooter, company officials have said.

In 2010, Solar Impulse successfully completed a 26-hour overnight flight, followed by a flight from Switzerland to Morocco in 2012.
This Solar kit laden behemoth will try to go around the globe in 2015, Hope it completes it!!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The World’s Largest Solar Boat

A solar boat that was being used for scientific research has docked at its final port, at least for a while. The world’s largest solar boat is called The Turanor Planet Solar and has taken scientist from the University of Geneva up the east coach over the last few months and across the Atlantic Ocean. The team of scientist was collecting water and air samples to determine how they affect climate change.

The boat was designed by New Zealand nautical architecture company LOMOcean Design. It was made by Knierim Yachtbau in 2010. It was named after the word for “power of the sun” in J.R.R Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”

“The boat has a very special look, with her expandable deck,” said one scientist. “In fact, we were two miles off the coast of Monaco when some people called the police to say there was an airplane on the water.”

The solar boat doesn’t just have looks, it is also very powerful and almost silent (even if it is fitted with lots of solar kits). Many similar ships have a loud sound as they move, but the Planet Solar doesn’t make much noise at all. It is also rumored to be very spacious, holding up to 60 people at a time. Although the boat was made for scientific purposes, it is also very stylish and comfortable.

The boat has come to rest on the Seine River as its final port of call after traveling for 3 months. Once scientists return home they will likely evaluate their collected samples. It is likely that the Planet Solar will be used in the future for similar research and other possible expeditions and adventures. Especially if Raphael Domjan, the man with the idea for the boat has his way.
The world's largest solar-powered boat has docked on the banks of the Seine River, its final port of call after a three-month voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to study how the Gulf Stream and climate change could influence each other.

It's not exactly pretty. But the MS Tûranor Planet Solar catamaran is better than beautiful: the photovoltaic panels that completely cover its deck and fold out from its sides like wings provide 93 kW of solar capacity, equivalent to about 127 horsepower. Its lightweight carbon underbody includes crew cabins and a large array of lithium-ion power storage batteries.

As the Tûranor's designers put it, every clear sunrise means a power infusion. The four-person crew have taken the Tûranor on a round the world journey, covering 60,000 kilometers, and are now docking in Paris after a five-month sojourn that included being an emissions-free lab for the Deepwater expedition. (Deepwater's task was to take Gulf Stream measurements to help know more about how the stream regulates climate patterns.)
Not only is the boat without polluting emissions, it's also silent. But piloting a solar boat is no stress-free feat, according to its captain Gérard d'Abboville, who in his blog makes frequent reference to the special skills required. The Tûranor needs a fairly constant flow of sunshine to recharge, and maintain its top speeds of 5 knots. Strong wind conditions and lower-than-normal sun all led to anxiety and a need for careful navigation during this last Atlantic crossing. After having successfully completed 60,000 kilometers of sailing and crossing the ocean in just 22 days, however, the designers of the boat at Planet Solar believe it has proved the viability of solar sailing.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

How to Find the Best Solar Pool Heating System

Following a few simple steps now can save you years of frustration by ensuring that you find the best solar pool heating system for your circumstances. These three steps will have you relaxing in a comfortable, warm pool and enjoying lower utility costs in no time.

Step 1: Size your pool

When you heat a pool with solar energy the pool’s water is circulated through a collector or set of collectors to be heated by the sun. Generally speaking, you’ll need a collector that is 65% to 100% of the surface area of your pool. For example, a 15-by-30 foot pool would require anywhere between 300 and 450 square feet of flat-plate collectors. However, other factors such as climate and personal preference also affect this calculation. Let’s move onto the next step to learn more.

Step 2: Climate considerations

Residents of El Cajon and other northern California cities can expect to use their swimming pools from 6 to 7 months out of the year, so a system that is sized at 65% to 75% of the pool’s surface area is typically perfect. On the other hand, increasing the square footage can prolong the swimming season and makes swimming in cooler  weather possible. The choice is yours, but for best results you’ll want to consult with a professional solar energy provider to determine the number of flat-plate collectors that’s right for you.

Step 3: Do business with a trusted provider

Doing business with a trusted solar energy provider is perhaps the most important step in finding the best solar pool heating system for you and your family. And for more than 30 years, folks have trusted Peak Solar for the best solar pool heating systems in all of California.  

That’s because when you trust Peak Solar with your pool heating needs or any other of your Solar Power kits, you become their top priority and will personally benefit from more than three decades of professionalism, outstanding customer service, and installation and maintenance expertise.

Source: Peak Solar