Monthly Archives: May 2016

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  • Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard took the controls of the solar powered aircraft for the 18 hour 10 minute flight
  • The aircraft flew 975 miles, reaching an alittude of 22,000 feet, during the journey from Arizona to Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • The team will spend a week preparing for a push towards New York before attempting to cross the Atlantic 

A solar-powered aircraft attempting to fly around the world without using any fuel has safely completed the eleventh leg of its epic journey after landing in Oklahoma.

Solar Impulse 2, piloted by Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard, landed after an 18 hour and 10 minute flight from Phoenix, Arizona, to Tulsa International Airport in Oklahoma.

The aircraft flew 975 miles (1,570km) and reached an altitude of 22,000ft (6,705 metres), taking the team behind the aircraft another step closer to their 21,700 mile (34,922km) record breaking journey around the world using only the power of the sun.

Solar Impulse 2 landed safely in the dark at Tulsa International Airport after an 18-hour flight from Phoenix. It brings the team another step closer to their 21,700-mile round the world goal. It has now travelled more than 17,000 miles

The aircraft flew 975 miles (1,570km) and reached an altitude of 22,000ft (6,705 metres), taking the team behind the aircraft another step closer to their 21,700 mile (34,922km) record breaking journey around the world using only the power of the sun

The aircraft flew 975 miles (1,570km) and reached an altitude of 22,000ft (6,705 metres), taking the team behind the aircraft another step closer to their 21,700 mile (34,922km) record breaking journey around the world using only the power of the sun

The Swiss-made Solar Impulse 2 took off from Phoenix Goodyear Airport about 3am on Thursday. It landed without incident at Tulsa International Airport around 11.15pm local, meaning the aircraft has now travelled 17,000 miles (27,350km) since setting off on its record attempt last year.

The crew are likely to stay in Tulsa for a few days while they wait for the weather to clear before it makes another flight over the United States ahead of tackling the crossing of the Atlantic from New York.

HOW DOES SOLAR IMPULSE WORK?

Solar Impulse 2 is powered by 17,000 solar cells and on-board rechargeable lithium batteries, allowing it to fly through the night.

Its wingspan is longer than a jumbo jet but its light construction keeps its weight to about as much as a car.

Solar Impulse 2 relies on getting enough solar power during the day to survive the night.

It is also extremely light – about the weight of a car – and as wide as a passenger jet.

Both of these combined means it is extremely susceptible to the weather.

In high winds it can struggle to stay aloft at the altitudes necessary to gather sunlight.

André Borschberg will pilot Solar Impulse 2 on the twelveth leg of the journey as it continues to cross the United States. However, the exact destination is yet to be decided.

A statement released by the Solar Impulse 2 team said: ‘Until two days before takeoff, our engineers had not even considered flying to Oklahoma due to its tornado potential. ‘They were originally considering a flight from Phoenix, Arizona to Kansas City, Missouri, however due to difficult weather conditions over the plains in the state of Kansas, we had to find a different solution.

‘Landing in Tulsa is symbolic, as it lies at the heart of the United States. Route 66, the iconic road that stretches from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona until ending in Santa Monica, California was initiated by entrepreneurs in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

‘This flight marks the third Solar Impulse mission flight this year after the Pacific Crossing and the flight from San Francisco to Phoenix, Arizona.

‘Our goal now is to reach New York as soon as possible in order to have enough time to find a clear weather window to cross the Atlantic.’

Solar Impulse 2 departed from northern California in the early hours of May 2 and landed at the airport southwest of Phoenix 16 hours later. Last month, it flew from Hawaii to California.

The globe-circling voyage began in March 2015 from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and made stops in Oman, Myanmar, China and Japan.

Pilot Bertrand Piccard took 20 minute naps during the 18-hour flight. He was greeted at Tulsa International Airport as he stepped out of the aircraft's cockpit by his fellow pilot Andre Borschberg. The pair is taking turns to fly the aircraft on each leg of the journey

Pilot Bertrand Piccard took 20 minute naps during the 18-hour flight. He was greeted at Tulsa International Airport as he stepped out of the aircraft’s cockpit by his fellow pilot Andre Borschberg. The pair is taking turns to fly the aircraft on each leg of the journey

Solar Impulse 2 has a flight speed of about 28 mph, although that can double during the day when the sun's rays are strongest. The $100 million solar project began in 2002 to highlight the importance of renewable energy and the spirit of innovation

Solar Impulse 2 has a flight speed of about 28 mph, although that can double during the day when the sun’s rays are strongest. The $100 million solar project began in 2002 to highlight the importance of renewable energy and the spirit of innovation

The Solar Impulse 2 touched down safely in Tulsa before taxiing (pictured) to a hangar where the team will begin assessing its performance during the flight and preparing it for the next leg of the journey

The Solar Impulse 2 touched down safely in Tulsa before taxiing (pictured) to a hangar where the team will begin assessing its performance during the flight and preparing it for the next leg of the journey

The aircraft reached a little over 11,400ft (3,475 metres) as the sun began to rise a little under two hours into the 18 hour flight to Oklahoma (view from the cockpit pictured)

The aircraft reached a little over 11,400ft (3,475 metres) as the sun began to rise a little under two hours into the 18 hour flight to Oklahoma (view from the cockpit pictured)

After Oklahoma, the plane is expected to make at least one more stop in the United States before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Europe or northern Africa, according to the website documenting the journey.

The Solar Impulse 2’s wings, which stretch wider than those of a Boeing 747, are equipped with 17,000 solar cells that power propellers and charge batteries.

The plane runs on energy stored in its high density batteries during the night.

Its maximum altitude is 27,900ft (8,500m) but this drops to 3,280ft (1,000m), when the pilot is able to take short 20 minute catnaps.

The Solar Impulse 2 is built from a range of lightweight materials and high storage batteries (illustrated) to help keep the experimental aircraft in the air for long periods using just the power from sunlight

The Solar Impulse 2 is built from a range of lightweight materials and high storage batteries (illustrated) to help keep the experimental aircraft in the air for long periods using just the power from sunlight

Piccard and Borschberg have been taking turns flying the plane on an around-the-world trip since taking off from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, in March 2015. The plane's maximum altitude is 27,900ft (8,500m) but this drops to 3,280ft (1,000m), when the pilot is able to take short 20-minute catnaps. The route is pictured

Piccard and Borschberg have been taking turns flying the plane on an around-the-world trip since taking off from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, in March 2015. The plane’s maximum altitude is 27,900ft (8,500m) but this drops to 3,280ft (1,000m), when the pilot is able to take short 20-minute catnaps. The route is pictured

A world map shows the path of the solar powered-plane so far, as it continues to cross the United States. Today's stage will take Solar Impulse across the mid US, heading towards New York for its next major challenge - crossing the Atlantic Ocean

A world map shows the path of the solar powered-plane so far, as it continues to cross the United States. Today’s stage will take Solar Impulse across the mid US, heading towards New York for its next major challenge – crossing the Atlantic Ocean

To help break up the long periods in the cramped cockpit, the pilots planned to land Solar Impulse 2 in 12 locations around the world.

Solar Impulse 2 was grounded in July last year after ‘irreversible damage to certain parts of the batteries’ as it flew across the first half of its journey across the Pacific from Japan to Hawaii.

Following its record-breaking, five-day flight across the Pacific last month, battery temperatures surged.

In particular, there was too much insulation which caused the plane’s battery temperature to spike on the first day of the flight across the Pacific.

Bertrand Piccard (pictured before taking off in Arizona) piloted the aircraft 975 miles during the 18 hour flight from Phoenix to Tulsa

Bertrand Piccard (pictured before taking off in Arizona) piloted the aircraft 975 miles during the 18 hour flight from Phoenix to Tulsa

The crew struggled to find ways of cooling the batteries once the aircraft was in the air.

Upon arriving in Hawaii, following a five day trip from Japan, the team decided to delay the rest of the trip until spring this year when the weather is likely to be more favourable for flying.

The aircraft was flown over the Pacific to Hawaii  by Piccard’s teammate Andre Borschberg, whose 118-hour journey smashed the previous record of 76 hours and 45 minutes set by US adventurer Steve Fossett in 2006.

The trans-Pacific leg was the riskiest part of the plane’s global travels because of the lack of emergency landing sites.

Solar Impulse 2 has a flight speed of about 28 mph, although that can double during the day when the sun’s rays are strongest.

In total the aircraft is expected to travel 21,700 miles in its around the world journey from Abu Dhabi.

The $100 million solar project began in 2002 to highlight the importance of renewable energy and the spirit of innovation.

Crowds gathered to watch the aircraft, which has a wingspan similar to a Boeing 747, as it left Arizona (pictured) for Oklahoma

Crowds gathered to watch the aircraft, which has a wingspan similar to a Boeing 747, as it left Arizona (pictured) for Oklahoma

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3586593/Solar-planes-leg-global-trip-_-Arizona-Oklahoma.html#ixzz48Zf1kLwc
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Article By: RICHARD GRAY FOR MAILONLINE

Article Via: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3586593/Solar-planes-leg-global-trip-_-Arizona-Oklahoma.html

 

States-at-risk-header-570x126

Wondering how prepared your state is for upcoming changes in climate? If you’re in Texas, you might be in for trouble. This week, Climate Central unveiled the first-ever national analysis of state-level preparedness for climate change-driven, weather-related threats.

States at Risk: America’s Preparedness Report Card summarizes the changing nature of key threats and the corresponding levels of preparedness in each of the 50 states:

“For over a century weather events have become more extreme, turning normal fluctuations into long-term climate trends. Today, heavy rains increasingly pound northeastern states, the southwest is in a long term drying pattern, the western wildfire season is 60 days longer, rising seas compound damaging coastal storms, and the Southeast and Gulf Coast states are on the verge of exceeding critical heat thresholds that seriously endanger human health.”

The report’s goal is to galvanize state action regarding climate change. Researchers assigned school-style letter grades to each location based on three criteria:

  • State assessment and public awareness of the threats,
  • Plans being formed, and
  • Plan implementation.

California, New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, which have already begun to take action, proved to be the superstar states.

State climate risk and preparedness scores (assets.statesatrisk.org)

Each analysis used extensive online data and interviews to cover five sectors critical to modern society everywhere:

  • Transportation,
  • Energy,
  • Water,
  • Human Health, and
  • Communities.

The study stopped with the comparative risk analysis. Decisions about which actions make the most sense remain for each state’s officials, who have the deepest knowledge of current conditions and bear the political and legal responsibility for the results.

The report notes that across the USA, all five of the major threats—extreme heat, drought, wildfires, inland flooding, and coastal flooding—are increasing as world climate changes due to rapid human industrialization. They pose significant and increasing risks to people and to the world economy. Because the problems already in motion will continue to grow for many decades—even if we could initiate drastic measures today—states and nations need to prepare now for coming weather extremes and climate change risks. Here’s the summary map:

Map of US state climate risk and preparedness scores (assets.statesatrisk.org)

Richard Wiles, senior vice president of Climate Central, summarizes the broad conclusions of the study:

“The states that did really poorly [those with the greatest risks and no preparedness analyses so far] could take some very simple steps to improve. Even a basic assessment of the threat would be a step forward for some of these states.”

The report finds that with a few exceptions (notably Texas, the Lone Star state), states are “reasonably well prepared” for current disasters. Very few have prepared for anticipated future changes, however. Following are state data for impacts and climate change risks sorted by prevalence of each risk factor.

Extreme Heat

Extreme heat affects every state, and all states are least prepared for this climate change eventuality. In the Southeast and along the Gulf Coast, the combination of heat and humidity is projected to cross thresholds dangerous for human health within the next 10 years. By 2050:

  • 11 states are projected to have an additional 50 or more heat wave days per year,
  • 2 states will have an additional 60 or more heat wave days per year, and
  • Florida is projected to have 80 heat wave days each year.

Only seven states have taken strong measures to prepare for extreme heat risks.

Inland Flooding

More than half (17) of all 32 states assessed for inland flooding risk have taken no planning actions or implemented any strategies to address climate-related flood risks. Florida and California have the largest populations living in the FEMA floodplain and vulnerable to inland flooding (1.5 million and 1.3 million, respectively). Georgia is third, with over half a million (570,000) people.

Wildfire

Wildfire affects 24 states, seriously menacing four: Texas, California, Arizona, and Nevada, where more than 35 million people live in the high-threat wildland border zone. In the East, Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia combine to put another 15 million people at risk of wildfire; and a group of other southeastern states (Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi) all face above-average increases by 2050. The report states that current preparedness for wildfires is very high, which is debatable, especially in terms of the superblazes of the 21st century. Readiness for future climate-driven wildfires is very low. Fifteen of the states analyzed lack climate adaptation plans that include wildfires.

Coastal Flooding

Half the states in the nation (48%) also face enormous coastal flooding threats, with Florida and Louisiana risks by far the greatest. In Florida, 4.6 million people will live in the 100-year coastal floodplain by 2050. Louisiana, with 1.2 million, is far better prepared (B-). Despite huge current and future dangers, Florida has only an average level of readiness and earned an F for readiness to cope with coastal floods.

Summer Drought

Texas currently faces a much higher overall summer drought threat than any other state. By 2050, however, nine states (Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Texas again, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Washington) will have greater summer drought threats than Texas does today. Ironically, Texas scored a D- on the preparedness tests. Montana failed entirely. Colorado, Washington, and Michigan are reasonably well prepared and earned Bs or higher.

See the report for details on the state-by-state rankings of climate change risks.

Article By: 

Article Via: http://cleantechnica.com/2016/04/12/us-climate-change-risks-preparedness-state-state/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+IM-cleantechnica+%28CleanTechnica%29

Spectators turned out to watch the Solar Impulse 2 solar airplane land at Phoenix Goodyear Airport on Monday night.
Solar Impulse

The Solar Impulse 2 landed in the Phoenix area Monday night, welcomed by spectators at Goodyear Airport as the plane’s pilots continue their quest to be the world’s first solar powered airplane to fly around the Earth.

The 745-mile trip took nearly 16 hours — less time than expected, largely due to powerful tailwinds. The plane reached a maximum altitude of 22,000 feet.

From member station KJZZ in Phoenix, Andrew Bernier tells our Newscast unit:

“The average speed of Solar Impulse 2 is 45 mph. But the tailwinds were too strong for some portions of the flight — so to slow down, the pilot had to sometimes turn the plane around and fly into the headwinds, essentially flying backward toward Phoenix. Other than that, the pilot said it was a great and sunny flight over the desert.”

Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg was at the controls for the plane’s 10th stage of a round-the-world flight. Borschberg alternates flying duties with project founder Bertrand Piccard.

The fuel-free flight project started in March 2015, but it was put on hold in July after the plane’s batteries developed problems during a five-day flight from Japan to Hawaii. It resumed its journey last month, completing a three-day trip from Hawaii to Mountain View, Calif.

The Solar Impulse 2 uses energy gathered from 17,000 solar cells on its surface to power itself. The craft weighs roughly 5,000 pounds and has a wingspan of 236 feet — wider than a Boeing 747.

As the Two-Way reported when the plane left Hawaii, the team hopes to end the journey where it began last spring, in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Article By: 

Article Via: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/05/03/476569334/solar-airplane-lands-in-phoenix-after-flight-from-silicon-valley

Floating-Solar-Power-Plants

In the not so distant future, the power we need could very well be provided by floating solar power plants that are offshore. Wind farms have become very popular in recent years and now experts are looking at ways to create sustainable energy without having to develop land. The solution: use the sea to house these structures.

The Vienna University of Technology is currently working on such a technology. They are calling it the Heliofloat. It consists of a seafaring solar power station that has an open bottom and is flexible, about the size of a football field. Interestingly, they are designing them so that multiple platforms can conjoin to create a solar power grid, if need be.

Rugged in their design, the floats will not capsize even in severe weather. Constructed using barrels to stay afloat with an open bottom that traps air, the floatables also prevent capsizing during even the worst of storms.

There’s no word yet on when these new contraptions will be able to power our homes and businesses, but it’s a pretty innovative and cool idea nonetheless. Power starved states that border the sea, like California, would greatly benefit from the ability to offer sustainable energy to residents from floating power stations.

With ample and nearly unending ocean real estate, power companies wouldn’t have to worry about buying costly buildings and land and maintaining them. Of course, with sustainable energy there is also no risk of a nuclear meltdown or of carbon emissions from older coal-burning power plants.

Unlike wind farms, which require frequent maintenance and that necessitate wide swaths of land to harness the power of the weather to create energy, these devices do not. One could literally construct and connect them at a comparable low cost and send them off to sea.

What would be even cooler is if engineers devised a way for these floatables to scrape up and collect floating ocean debris simultaneously. Could you imagine how awesome a sustainable energy source that was seafaring would be if it could also clean up the trash we have strewn our waterways with at the same time?

Just some food for thought.

Article By: Michael Lazar

Article Via: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-lazar/floating-solar-power-plan_b_9816082.html