Around the world in 20 days — on solar power

10 thoughts on “Around the world in 20 days — on solar power”

  1. Wow, this is so cool PT! I missed this one from tonight’s show and will so go to the site to check it out! 😀

    BTW, did you see the report about the N. Korean escapee? I’m thinking about posting the video…

    1. Yes, I saw it. Most bizarre prison system I’ve ever heard of. I can’t imagine his thoughts and feelings after he got out. He should write a book.

  2. I’ve been thinking (for over a decade) that cargo ships ought to be using a combination of wind and solar power. Yeah, stuff will take longer to ship, so maybe it’s not so good for perishables, but consumer electronics and vehicles and that? Come one! Isn’t it worth the price of waiting a little instead of burning oil to move stuff? I mean, it’s going to get there eventually.

  3. Intriguing. Freight and passenger trains come to mind as an application. Lots of roof space for cells, and the ability to carry batteries along if that would be needed.

  4. I hesitate to rain on this parade, this airplane is a thing of beauty and triumph of engineering. But in respect of honesty and as a battery engineer, I must drizzle. This is not a demonstration of the power of solar energy but of battery technology. The feat is being accomplished by combining the refinement of aviation design with a significant achievement in battery chemistry. The lithium-ion chemistry is only possible through the most exacting manufacturing standards for thin-film chemistry, and in this regard it is similar to the advancements in electronics. Robotics and the finest of quality control standards are essential to both processes and so the results are not only marvelous but more vulnerable than ever before in history. Any number of things could happen to overturn this progress – for example a financial crisis undermining the investment in complex factories or a solar flare blowing out solid-state components in every vehicle and almost every machine on earth. This is different from the nineteenth century,for example, when average human beings were capable of re-creating necessary products in the wake of disasters. We are living atop a house of cards. But hey, let’s enjoy it as long as we may (not that we have any choice). The good times could last a millennium or more, and it’s beautiful to see.

    What a marvelous picture!

    1. Drizzle away! There are shortcomings with every technology and the development of solar power has long been intertwined with the development of practical, lightweight batteries. Likewise, the cost of development has always a hurdle for new technologies. Currently it’s the primary objection to developing alternative sources of power — and, not surprisingly, is advanced most often by existing industries like gas, oil, and coal. The costs, of course, will never go down if we don’t keep working on development and practical application. And the different perils that threaten each energy source make the argument for alternative sources just that much more compelling. We shouldn’t be putting all our eggs in the oil/gas basket. Nor do I believe we can achieve energy independence with only gas, oil, and coal. We don’t have enough of those. We need the alternative sources. And the sooner the better.

      Let the good times roll, indeed. Let ’em all roll!

      Did you watch the segment? Piccard is a poet,/philosoper too. He spoke of the sunrise in this picture being a new day, full of promise, and how uplifting it was to greet it.

      Hell, if we aren’t going to fly to the moon anymore, let’s at least try flying around the world on solar power.

... and that's my two cents