Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Solar Energy

USAF Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Run on Solar Power

[social_buttons]

A team of US scientists are working on a new generation of airborne solar cells, and expects them to power Air Force unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the near future.

The University of Washington’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) project team, believe that their new breed of Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) will become an optimum energy harvesting source that may lead to longer flight times without the need to refuel.

According to lead researcher Dr. Minoru Taya, “These kinds of solar cells have more specific power convergence efficiency (PCE), very clean energy and easy scalability to a larger skin area of the craft, as well as low-temperature processing, which leads to lower costs overall.”

The new airborne solar cells are made by blending a flexible film and a thin glass coating with transparent conductive electrodes. Taya has discovered that DSSCs made from organic materials, which use (dyes) and moth-eye film, are able to capture photons and transform them into synthesized electrons capable of harvesting high photon energy.

Several years ago the team attached DSSCs on the wings of a toy airplane. Although the propeller fired-up OK the plane was unable to take-off because the glass based solar cells they were using were too heavy. After a hasty rethink, they switched to film battery technology, which enabled the plane to get airborne.

Now the team are developing airborne energy harvesters, which are installed in the wings of the air force UAVs.

“Any airborne energy harvester must satisfy additional requirements, like weight and durability in airborne environments. If those are met, then there may even be longer UAV flight times,” said Taya.

Image Credit – bryce_edwards on flickr

 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
 

Advertisement
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

is a writer and freelance journalist specialising in sustainability and green issues. He lives in Cardiff, Wales.

Comments

You May Also Like

Clean Power

Offshore wind holds great promise as a source of clean, domestic, renewable energy that can meet the needs of communities along the nation’s coastlines....

Cars

The growth of electric vehicles is fun and exciting to those of us who are interested in the new tech, but the truly important...

Clean Transport

How Lessons Learned Around the Globe Can Accelerate the Electrification of Road Freight

Batteries

New energy storage technology is needed to kick the renewable energy revolution into high gear, and NASA-tested nickel-hydrogen batteries are (finally) in the running.

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.