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Low emission flight: Electronics applied to zero emission air civil transportation, Part 2

In Low emission flight: The electronics applied to the zero emission air civil transportation, Part 1 of this blog series I have described zero emission planes and unmanned air vehicles powered with solar cells, both having the goal to achieve the result of air civil transportation with low impact on the air environment reducing pollution of the air that we breathe.

Efficiency of the solar cells is a key point for wide adoption of UAV aircraft for civil transportation; a great help to the effectiveness of solar energy harvesting may come, one more time, from the electronics technology.

Photoactive supercapacitors are a perfect solution for this type of application (see Figure 1):

Due to the intermittent nature of solar energy, energy storage is essential in systems which are powered by harvesting solar energy. Conventionally, external energy storage devices such as batteries and supercapacitors are employed in conjunction with solar cells.

We have devised a new structure which can convert photons to electric charges and at the same time store the charges in the device under the open circuit conditions.”(Source: Journal of Power Sources)

Figure 1

The photo electrochemical cell developed by the Department of Electrical Engineering, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620, USA (Source: Journal-of-Power-Sources)

The photo electrochemical cell developed by the Department of Electrical Engineering, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620, USA (Source: Journal-of-Power-Sources)

The massive utilization of electronics ICs for energy harvesting is an interesting option; the previsions of the sales of electronic chips for energy harvesting are, indeed, very interesting (see Figure 2):

Annual unit shipments over the period 2015 to 2020 will grow to 777 million with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 80.6 percent. This would put unit shipments in 2015 at about 40 million and shipments in 2016 at about 70 million.

The annual chip market over the same period will experience a CAGR of 71.4 percent and reach $3 billion. This indicates a market size of about $200 million in 2015 rising to about $350 million in 2016.” (Source: EETimes Europe)

Figure 2

The energy harvesting electronic chips scenario (Source: EETimes Europe)

The energy harvesting electronic chips scenario (Source: EETimes Europe)

Electronics technology applied to zero-emission airplanes: A promising idea for the future of the civil air transportation. What do you think of the potential of this solution? Do you think that environmental preservation is an important point to be considered when talking about aerial transportation?

Do you think that air vehicles powered by solar cells will be a good fit to achieve this goal?

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