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Ask Slashdot: What stands in the way of a truly solar-powered airplane?

centre21 (232258) writes | about 2 years ago

2

centre21 (232258) writes "So I've been reading about solar-powered aircraft all over the Interwebs, as well as solar power in general, but I'm wondering, is it more than just solar cell efficiency that's preventing the creation of a solar-powered airliner? Conspiracy views aside (which may be valid) it seems to me that if I were running an airline the size of United or American, eliminating the need for jet fuel as a cost would be HIGHLY appealing. So I'm asking: what stands in the way of creating true solar-powered airliners?"
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Horsepower is the issue (1)

macpacheco (1764378) | about 2 years ago | (#41810391)

Take a B737 sized aircraft, even if we could convert 100% of sunlight hitting it to electricity, it wouldn't have enough thrust to take off with a normal PAX load.
In the near future a light aircraft for two people will be viable.
But the priority should be the electric car, and the fuel cell bus/locomotive. We use a lot more oil in ground/sea transportation than in air transportation.

The answer is obvious... (1)

unitron (5733) | about 2 years ago | (#41814503)

"What stands in the way of a truly solar-powered airplane?"

Clouds.

: - )

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