The Value Of Solar Energy Engineering – Improving Existing Products.
Solar energy technology can also be used in conjunction with other forms of non-renewable energy generation. Untill the efficiency of solar cells increases to the point where they can stand alone in certain applications, it makes sense to use it in a hydrid arrangement.
Here is a great example of a solar hybrid being used in an existing product to make it more efficient overall. In this example a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle ( UAV or drone ) has been upgraded with the latest thinfilm solar cells with fantastic results.
C-Astral Aerospace and Alta Devices just announced that Alta’s solar technology will be used to significantly extend the endurance for the most sophisticated of C-Astral’s next generation unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Details of the agreement are not being disclosed.
C-Astral’s latest system, called the Bramor ppX-LRS (long range solar), can fly at least two hours longer with the addition of Alta’s solar technology. This new Bramor enables highly efficient and precise global surveying and sensing capabilities in remote and urban areas.
Solar Engineering A Full Size Plane?
Since drones use exactly the same principles of flight as large planes if would be logical to assume that we could apply the same solar cell technology to them as well. Imagine gaining another 20% or better, in range for a Boeing 777!
Now that would be a solar hybrid!
About the Bramor ppX-LRS Long Range Solar Drone.
One example application is mapping and surveying of long stretches of road from the sky which allows for finishing the project in only a few days without disrupting traffic. If done from the ground, this kind of work would take two to three months of road closures. The beyond-line-of-sight capability of the UAV, together with its advanced gas detection and SWIR (short wave infrared) sensors, is also suited for pipeline monitoring, replacing manned aircraft systems and helicopters at a fraction of the cost.
About Gordon Smith Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.