A little early on July 26, 2016, the Solar Impulse 2, landed in Abu Dhabi, from where it began its historic flight around the world. A flight completely powered by the Sun. It was the combined effort of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the pilots and also the brains behind the mission to a cleaner future for the world. Even though they failed to do this in the first attempt last year, the team was determined to make it possible.
Why is the Solar Impulse 2 a Revolution in Aeronautical and Energy Engineering?
Ever since man realized that there is a shortage of fossil fuel, the need for renewable energy was inevitable. Hence, Solar Impulse 2 was designed to prove that a solo airplane could travel around the world without a drop of fuel.
Abu Dhabi’s airport was chosen as the beginning and the end of the journey which lasted around 500 flight hours. It was not as simple as it seemed. The Solar Impulse 2 is a small plane and it is very light, compared to an average single-seater aircraft. Hence, the flight plan had to account for wind speed, weather conditions and seasons across the world to make it a success.
This is a revolution, not only in aeronautical engineering, but it is also a revolution in energy engineering. When a small airplane can travel around the world without using fuel, it means that it is possible to develop mass transport vehicles that use renewable energy.
The Future of Solar Powered Vehicles
Solar powered vehicles will probably be the future of transportation, especially in hot countries like India, where solar energy is abundant. However, it is sad that we have not yet adapted to it and are compromising a much safer energy source for fossil fuels. There will be a time when fossil fuels themselves will become fossils, and only then will we understand the need for renewable energy.
Scientists like Piccard and Borschberg have realized this ahead of the masses and are working towards making renewable energy as practical as possible. They have proved it with the Solar Impulse 2. If solar powered vehicles run on Indian roads, they will be cheaper and highly successful, since most of the areas in India are hot enough to generate a massive amount of solar power, it is up to us to use it.
Solar powered vehicles will not only reduce carbon emissions, but they will also reduce the amount of money an individual spends on fossil fuel. Most of the wars that are being fought in the east are the result of western countries hunting for fossil fuels. Hence, solar powered vehicles will also contribute to world peace. Needless to say, the future is bright for solar powered vehicles.
Why is Solar Energy Not Used Much?
The fact that solar energy is not used much is true, in fact, we are wasting it in abundance. The main reason why solar energy is not used is because we still have fossil fuels and we depend on thermal or hydro energy to generate power.
While researchers are building solar vehicles like the Solar Impulse 2, commercialization of these vehicles is quite a challenge. But if we overcome that, solar vehicle technology will definitely prove to be a game-changer in the field of technology and this is what the journey of Solar Impulse 2 implies.