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Earth Power Transportation News Science Technology

Solar Impulse 2 Takes Off From Hawaii To California With No Fuel ( 53

An anonymous reader writes: After stalling on the island of Oahu for almost 10 months, the Solar Impulse 2 continues its journey to fly across the world with no fuel. Today, it took off from Hawaii to California piloted by Swiss explorer and psychiatrist Bertrand Piccard. Since the plane travels at about the same speed as a car, it'll take 62 hours to complete the flight across the Pacific to the San Francisco Bay area, some 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) away. The pilots and team call this test "the moment of truth," as they've experienced weather delays slowing down the progress. It was originally scheduled to land in Abu Dhabi, where it started its journey in March 2015, by the end of last summer. The plane had to be grounded for nine months while the batteries were being fixed. Now the Solar Impulse 2 has new batteries, a new cooling system that can be manually operated by the pilot, and $20 million in fresh funding to keep the mission up and running, according to CNN.
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Solar Impulse 2 Takes Off From Hawaii To California With No Fuel

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  • all the way
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 21, 2016 @07:13PM (#51960591)

    Batteries are fuel, you troglodytes.

    • Batteries are a power transfer system, not naturally occurring fuel.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Refined Gasoline is a power transfer system, not a naturally occuring fuel.

        • Refining is the process of getting dirt, sand, and other things that are not oil out of oil found in the ground... it doesn't add energy, it just purifies the matter into something that burns into nothing.

          Gasoline has a smell because sulfur is intentionally added so it isn't confused with water. All cooking oils have smells illegal to use on the road added so they're cheaper than engine fuel.

    • A battery is a collection of cells. A cell is a container for material that can hold an electric charge. It's the equivalent of a gas tank for electricity. You have to put energy into it if you want to take energy out. The fuel in this case is sun light.
      • wrong. a gasoline tank holds fuel which produces far more energy than it takes to make. a cell merely is energy storage, and takes more energy to "fill" than it can deliver back. ditto for hydrogen, it is just an energy storage mechanism, not an energy source.

    • your stupidity shows what is wrong with the US educational system. Batteries are for energy storage, just as a fuel tank in a car is. neither are fuel

  • Fuel? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jklovanc ( 1603149 )

    The fully charged batteries could be considered fuel.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'd put it more strongly. Batteries are a form of fuel. The fact that it is not liquid is of no importance. It would have been a different story if it ran on solar power alone the entire duration. It's not as if batteries are new tech.

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )
        I'll put it more strongly - if your English teacher read that they would cry.
    • The fully charged batteries could be considered fuel.

      They are definitely an energy source, so I'd accept them as fuel. But since I chimed in, and aimed at no one in particular, I'l go over the history of batteries and flight..

      Batteries? We don't need no stinkin'batteries! Planes start by a strong back twirling the prop! Batteries? They are for starting the engines! That's about it.

      Batteries? They'll never power any flying vehicle. That's crazy talk!

      Batteries? Sure they can power RC planes, but they'll never power a real plane!

      Batteries? Hell sure

      • Batteries? Hell sure they are powering a plane, but they're so damn expensive - never be practical!

        Expense is not the issue weight is. Fossil fuels are over an order of magnitude more energy dense that batteries and it will take a while to change that. Weight is the most important factor for aircraft

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      Lithium batteries can be fuel but they burn pretty quickly :)
      Otherwise it's just doubleplusungood word redefinition games.
  • sources of electromagnetism are the only sustainable source of electricity that is actually sustainable for mankind. chemical energy is great but we lack technology and global infrastructure to make it anything but our disastrous present situation. nuclear is fantastic but we need still need to develop a proper LFTR because breeder reactors are dangerous for just anyone to have.

    • What do you think about geothermal energy?
      • it's a great idea in theory... as long as you don't consider plate tectonics. the earthquakes triggered by geothermal drilling makes it a poor choice. however, i haven't heard anyone try to use heat from an active volcano... probably because you know... it's a volcano. ;)

      • The global power produced by Earth in the form of heat (high entropy energy) amounts to less than 50TW. The average global power received by Earth from the Sun in the form of light (low entropy energy) amounts to 174,000 TW. (wikipedia).

        So you are comparing a minuscule heat flow percolating upwards compared to a large photon flow raining downwards. By the way plants show in which direction to look to collect low entropy energy.

        Needless to say that you need exceptional spots, like Iceland, concentrating l

  • by dcooper_db9 ( 1044858 ) on Thursday April 21, 2016 @09:21PM (#51961313)
    You'd think for $20 million they could've bought some gas.
  • So basically this thing failed? I mean, if you have to replace something as major as batteries how does that count as proving a solar plane can go round the world? That's a hell of a thing. I can understand maybe replacing a bolt or two .. but swapping out the batteries that just don't sound right.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"