Inspenet, September 22, 2023.
Solar Airship One will make history
The solar-powered airship known as Solar Airship One is planning to carry out a trip around the world non-stop and without depending on fossil fuels , basing its operation solely on renewable energy sources. The journey involves the challenging task of traveling more than 40,000 continuous km near the equator, covering approximately 25 countries, all in a period of 20 days.
To achieve this feat, the airship will be equipped with a surface area of 4,800 m 2 covered with photovoltaic panels that will take advantage of sunlight during the day. Surplus energy will be stored in a hydrogen fuel cell system that will be used to power the electric motors during nighttime hours. This airship will have a length of 151 meters and a helium expansion volume of 53,000 cubic meters.
In order to minimize the risks of explosions, a concern that arose from the tragic experience of the Hindenburg zeppelin, Solar Airship One will be composed of 15 independent gas compartments, allowing instant response to potentially dangerous situations. This configuration will also make it easier to anticipate weather events.
The French company Euro Airship, dedicated to ecological aviation and promoter of this ambitious project, plans to begin construction of Solar Airship One in 2024 and plans to carry out its first crossing in 2026. The airship’s itinerary will include countries such as India, China, Mexico, the United States, Mauritania, Mali and France.
The purpose of the flight
According to information provided on its website, Euro Airship highlights that the main purpose of the inaugural flight is educational in nature. During the trip, the airship crew will maintain constant communication with schools, universities, governments of the countries flown over and various international organizations.
Dorine Bourneton expressed in an interview with aviation magazine Flying that the main focus is on educating and motivating the young generation, which they consider of utmost importance due to concerns about climate change and impending natural disasters.
After completing its round-the-world trip, Euro Airship aims to obtain certification that will allow it to expand the use of its technology. According to Bourneton, the company is firmly committed to promoting a carbon-free future. She emphasizes that this flight around the world is not simply an exhibition or an adventure, but is part of a process to validate and advance its technology. The main market that Euro Airship seeks to address is ecotourism, followed by applications in military surveillance.
Since the aircraft is recharged by solar energy every 24 hours, it can remain in the air continuously. Bourneton notes that they can operate the aircraft unmanned at altitudes of up to 6,000 meters for long periods.
The company is also showing interest in the logistics field due to the aircraft’s planned ability to carry extremely heavy loads. Although this capability could be valuable in military contexts, the company contemplates its potential use as a support resource in natural disaster situations.