Last Friday Tim Hurst wrote an article entitled ‘Soaring Fuel Prices Spur Aviation Industry to Explore Alternatives’, wherein he focused our attention on Rolls-Royce and British Airways attempts to search for alternative fuels. Though probably not entirely humanitarian in nature, it is nice to see another industry getting in to the alternative fuel game.
With the start of a new week however, I get to bring to your attention the efforts of France’s LISA Airplanes and solar cell maker Trinia Solar Ltd.
Monday just gone saw Trinia Solar announce that it would provide nearly 300 photovoltaic cells to LISA for its Hy-Bird solar and fuel cell powered airplane. According to the website, the “Hy-Bird project plans to fly around the world with a 100% clean electric airplane powered only by renewable energies: solar energy and hydrogen.” Trinia’s photovoltaic cells will be attached to the wing and horizontal tail of the plane.
According to Trinia’s website, the cells “will supply sufficient energy to complete the fuel cell power for takeoff and for on-board power supply.” It adds that the electric engine onboard the Hy-Bird will be more effective at higher altitudes than heat engines.
I had to ask a Twitter friend to ensure I got this right, but according to Kahunablair, “gas engines depend on the burning of gas/oxygen mixtures. Higher altitude = less oxygen = not efficient engines.” And though that has to be put through the “144 characters or less” filter, the reason that electric engines are better at such altitudes becomes obviously clear.
Either way, it’s good to see more and more innovation in more and more industries. Here’s hoping our air fares will drop sometime soon.