Sun-Powered Plane to Circle the World in 20 Days

Not a single gallon of fuel will be burnt to complete this first-of-its-kind journey

By on December 4th, 2012 08:28 GMT

The Solar Impulse team is now planning an epic round-the-world journey, which is to be carried out by means of a sun-powered plane.

More precisely, it is their belief that as many as 12,000 solar cells made to form a plane's wings will allow them to fly around the world in just 20 days without their having to burn a single gallon of conventional fuel to complete their journey.

“For the solar cells which power the the engines of Solar Impulse are not just attached to its wings - they are its wings,” Bertrand Piccard, one of the Swiss adventurers who helped design this plane, explains.

After collecting sun power, the solar cells turn it into electricity, part of which is used to keep the engine up and running. Whatever electricity surplus the solar cells happen to generate is stored for later use with the help of batteries.

“And then this electricity goes simultaneously to the engines and to the batteries and then we will reach the next sunrise and capture the sun again. And we can continue theoretically forever,” Bertrand Piccard went on to add.

Solar Impulse presently holds the record for the longest solar-powered flight, which is probably why this team of daredevils have decided that, if there is nobody around to challenge them, they might as well challenge themselves.

Still, as Daily Mail reports, the fact remains that Solar Impulse scored said record by using a manned solar-powered plane to fly over Switzerland for 26 hours.

By contrast, this round-the-world journey will take about two and a half weeks, so odds are that it will require a lot more preparations and nerve.

The journey is set to take place in 2015, and by then, it is to be expected that the aircraft that Bertrand Piccard and his colleague, Andre Borschberg, plan on flying around the world will undergo extensive testing.

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