The revolutionary Solar Airship One project by Euro Airship has begun operations. It will go nonstop around the globe with no use of fossil fuels and no emissions of carbon dioxide. The company claims that this innovative initiative will be the first global demonstration of an entirely new low-carbon mobility system.
The whale-shaped Solar Airship One will travel nonstop for 20 days over 25 nations while being powered by solar energy and hydrogen. The solar airship is scheduled to launch in 2026, and the development team is confident that it will run entirely on solar energy and hydrogen, emitting no noise, carbon dioxide, or other pollutants while in flight.
This enormous rigid airship, Solar Airship One, is 151 meters (or 495 feet) in length and has a helium expansion volume of 53,000 cubic meters. To fully capture sunlight, it will have an astonishing 4,800 square meters of solar film covering its whole upper surface.
The solar panels will power the electric propulsion systems of the airship during the day and store any excess energy for use at night by electrolyzing water into hydrogen. At night, the hydrogen will be used in a fuel cell to generate the necessary energy to continue.
The airship will consist of 15 gas envelopes, each independently managed to enable a rapid response and anticipation of climatic phenomena, avoiding the inertia associated with the usage of helium.
This epic expedition will go over 40,000 kilometres (24,854 miles) in 20 days at an average altitude of 6,000 meters (19,685 feet), following a trajectory that is near to the equator. Three extraordinary people will fly it: adventurer Bertrand Piccard, paraplegic pilot Dorine Bourneton, and former astronaut Michel Tognini.
Although the airship’s average speed of about 83 km/h (52 mph) may seem modest in comparison to commercial airliners, it has the advantage of adaptability. For instance, the ability to stop and start without the requirement for a runway at nearly any point.
Additionally, the business plans to make the airship totally self-sufficient, assuring that it won’t need a lot of ground infrastructure to be protected. A straightforward rotating platform on a sheet of water is sufficient for frequent stops, making it simple to run and maintain. The airship will be outfitted with both a traditional water-based system and a compressed-air system to assure stability and ballast.
The airship also includes a second envelope that controls internal temperatures and stabilizes exterior pressures. Thanks to its automatic de-icing system, this technological advancement makes it possible for the airship to be utilized in any weather, increasing its profitability and adaptability.
With the assistance of collaborators like Capgemini, Groupe La Poste Orange, and others, Solar Airship One will be the result of more than ten years of research and development.
The Solar Airship One will be built by Euro Airship starting in 2024, with final assembly taking place the following year. The company intends to go out on its adventurous journey in 2026 after obtaining experimental approval.