Solar powered planes suck



  • BBC Breaking:

    WHAT!???!

    You have to cross TWO oceans to go around the world?! Mind = blown.


  • area_deu

    If you fly along the equator you'll cross three of them!



  • @blakeyrat said:

    You have to cross TWO oceans to go around the world?!

    At least, right? I'm sure you could come up with (minimal length) routes that got more of them.



  • I wonder if there's any place you could go around the world north-south and not pass by 2 oceans-- Antarctic Ocean is unavoidable, but what about up north?

    Too lazy to open a globe program.



  • The Arctic Ocean is up north. It's probably possible to skip both the Southern and Arctic oceans, but I think you'd be certain to hit a couple of others that way.



  • HOWEVER if you changed the criteria from "ocean" to "place you can't land", you'd be able to do it I think. IIRC the Arctic is solid ice sheets from Russia to Canada.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I wonder if there's any place you could go around the world north-south and not pass by 2 oceans-- Antarctic Ocean is unavoidable, but what about up north?

    Too lazy to open a globe program.

    There's the Arctic Ocean in the north. Antarctica is surrounded by the {Southern Ocean|Great Southern Ocean|Antarctic Ocean|South Polar Ocean|Austral Ocean}, although whether or not this exists is a matter of definition; some geographers consider it to be the southernmost parts of the other (Atlantic, Pacific and Indian) oceans.

    Basically, though, the answer is no. There is no direction one can travel around the Earth without crossing at least two oceans.



  • But if you're going to do that you should start including smaller bodies of water that aren't oceans (Arabian Sea, Mediteranean, Gulf of Mexico, North Sea, etc).



  • @boomzilla said:

    But if you're going to do that you should start including smaller bodies of water that aren't oceans (Arabian Sea, Mediteranean, Gulf of Mexico, North Sea, etc).

    I think the rules should allow you to go on a slightly longer trip to avoid bodies of water. As long as you're not taking a shortcut, you're fine.

    So basically, fly up Panama on the good side of the planet, and across Suez on the lame Europe-y side.

    From what I understand, this solar plane is gonna have to island-hop across the Pacific anyway, like an old-school prop plane from the 1940s.

    EDIT: Nope! They plan to fly directly from Nanjing to Hawaii, then directly from Hawaii to Phoenix! Damn, them's some long hops. Nanjing to Hawaii they have marked as 120 hours. Not a fast plane.

    http://multimedia.thenational.ae/interactives/flat-graphics/solar-impulse-2.jpg



  • @blakeyrat said:

    the Arctic is solid ice sheets from Russia to Canada.

    During the winter this is probably somewhat close to being true. I think the big chunks of ice still drift and grind against each other, like plate tectonics on a smaller scale. During the summer enough ice thaws that it's impossible to get a surface (dog sled, snowmobile, whatever) expedition to the pole. There might be chunks big enough to land on, but it would be awfully chancy.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Not a fast plane.

    4 - 5 months for the trip? No, it's not.



  • Well, solar powered.



  • @HardwareGeek said:

    4 - 5 months for the trip? No, it's not.

    They must be planning some long maintenance stops, because even at "5 days to go from China to Hawaii" speeds they'd be able to do a lot better than 4 months.



  • Yeah. That's so long, I wouldn't consider it to be an "around-the-world flight." More like a bunch of shorter (Nanjing to Hawaii isn't "short") flights that eventually wind up back where they started.


  • mod

    @blakeyrat said:

    HOWEVER if you changed the criteria from "ocean" to "place you can't land", you'd be able to do it I think. IIRC the Arctic is solid ice sheets from Russia to Canada.

    :moving_goal_post:

    Also, your proposed criteria now introduces the problem of mountain ranges and large bodies of water besides oceans. Of course, you could then skirt the water problem by adding pontoons to your aircraft …



  • Just add a solar-powered escape helicopter. Duh.


  • mod

    @blakeyrat said:

    Just add a solar-powered escape helicopter. Duh.

    And fail because you loose your main craft. Bravo, back to the drawing board.



  • Read TFA, and:

    Because, pinch yourself, solar power is predicted to become the dominant source of electricity globally by 2050.

    :wtf:



  • @HardwareGeek said:

    4 - 5 months for the trip?

    Weather is (not surprisingly) a big factor:

    "For the Pacific crossing, it was an easy decision. We had a very good window on 2 May. But when we were on the East Coast of the USA, we had to look to cross the Atlantic and we had to wait 30 days to find a good window. And then it was easy - 3.5 days and we were in Seville, [Spain]," he told BBC News.

    NB: that was for some test flights, apparently.



  • @boomzilla said:

    Because, pinch yourself, solar power is predicted to become the dominant source of electricity globally by 2050.

    There is no way that is true.

    I doubt it'll even be the dominant source of renewable electricity by 2050. Right now, wind turbines are blowing them away, AFAICT. And sites that do solar power in bulk don't even use cells, they just have tons of mirrors aimed at a turbine filled with molten salt or something.


  • The Cold Doesn't Bother Us Anyway

    @blakeyrat said:

    They must be planning some long maintenance stops

    From the article linked in the twitter:

    The plan is stop off at various locations around the globe, to rest and to carry out maintenance, and also to spread a campaigning message about clean technologies.


  • area_deu

    But wind is kind of indirectly solar energy!


  • The Cold Doesn't Bother Us Anyway

    @aliceif said:

    But wind is kind of indirectly solar energy!

    as is hydro electric, coal, and fossil fuels.

    in fact only Geothermal, nuclear, and tidal are not primarily indirect solar power.

    unless i missed anything recently....



  • @aliceif said:

    But wind is kind of indirectly solar energy!

    So is every other kind. Even the radioactive elements used in nuclear power came from a sun (maybe not our sun, but a sun) billions of years ago.



  • @accalia said:

    in fact only Geothermal, nuclear, and tidal are not primarily indirect solar power.

    Nuclear is. Hello, supernova! Admittedly, our tides are mainly lunar.


  • The Cold Doesn't Bother Us Anyway

    ok. nuclear I'll give you, provided you accept the caveat that the star Sol, around which we are currently orbiting, was not the stellar body that generated those fissile materials. ;-)



  • @blakeyrat said:

    wind turbines are blowing them away

    huehuehue



  • @JazzyJosh said:

    huehuehue

    yes congratulations you got the joke you win +34 internets.

    Also:

    Since I know some humorless fuck was about to post it.



  • Windmills would make more sense if we could harvest their kill and enjoy some tasty dead bird.



  • Did you see that news item about the solar tower setup they were testing in California? And they counted how many birds flew through the beam and were basically vaporized.

    If you could figure out how to lower the intensity to "well-done" and just plop a KFC down there in the middle of the installation, it'd be perfect.


    BTW that article has the sentence:

    Won’t somebody stop these not-so-green nature-killing maniacs?

    And I have no idea if they are serious or tongue-in-cheek.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    And I have no idea if they are serious or tongue-in-cheek.

    Because, on the internet, no one knows your'e a nature-killing maniac...



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Since I know some humorless fuck was about to post it.

    Some humorless fuck did.



  • OH SNAP!!l!!



  • @boomzilla said:

    At least, right? I'm sure you could come up with (minimal length) routes that got more of them.

    You could do it without crossing any bodies of water. Fly around the south pole. You'd cross all lines of longitude without leaving land. What? How do you define flying around the world?

    Or you could push the earth farther from the sun so all the oceans freeze. Or closer so they all boil away.



  • @ijij said:

    your'e

    Top One Sign You Are a Nature-Killing Maniac

    1. You can't spell "you're" ... even with two edits.


  • I don't think it's impossible, photovoltaic technology keeps advancing whereas wind turbines are basically as good as they get.

    Admittedly I'm too lazy to actually run the numbers, but if they ever get to the "tipping point" where they are cheaper than all other sources, it will just be a question of volume.



  • One problem with both of those things is that they take a fuckload of space.



  • @anonymous234 said:

    I don't think it's impossible, photovoltaic technology keeps advancing whereas wind turbines are basically as good as they get.

    Very true, but wind has a huge lead. You might find this interesting:

    Solar energy is the fastest-growing source of renewable generation, increasing by 7.5%/year from 2012 to 2040, almost exclusively as a result of increased photovoltaic capacity in both the electric power (central-station) and end-use (customer-sited) sectors. Wind generation grows by an average of 2.0%/year but provides the largest absolute increase in renewable generation. From 2012 to 2016, wind power developers take advantage of the existing federal PTC, which requires plants to be under construction by the end of 2013 to qualify.
    [Source][1]


  • @anonymous234 said:

    I don't think it's impossible, photovoltaic technology keeps advancing whereas wind turbines are basically as good as they get.

    the main problem with photovoltaic it's that the energy production isn't constant. and storing that amount of energy isn't viable. actually, the power generation has to be tuned up or down depending on the actual consumption or the whole thing blows apart.

    that's why the tech is now drifting to mirrors and molten salt like @blakeyrat said.

    TL;DR; energy has to be produced at the same time it's gona be consumed. you can't store it.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Well, that ain't gonna happen, unless we all cut our electricity usage by like 80%.



  • @anonymous234 said:

    I don't think it's impossible, photovoltaic technology keeps advancing whereas wind turbines are basically as good as they get.

    Consider lead time here. Even if we went ALL OUT on solar right now, to the extent of crippling our economy, would it be a majority by 2050? I wager: probably not. Even if we tried, we'd hit a raw material shortage (say, Gallium, for example) that would stall progress and couldn't just be solved by throwing more cash at.

    Also consider wind power can generate (or at least contribute to) base load at times when solar cannot in a specific region. (For example, midnight.) And we don't have the batteries to make-up the gap. (And frankly, we don't have ANY way of making-up the gap right now-- there's no way of getting rid of hydroelectric or coal/oil or nuclear in the foreseeable future, because we need them to supply the minimum base-load for the entire grid to function. Steady, predictable, power sources are hugely important. Wind power, no matter how much power it generates, simply is not predictable enough.)

    @boomzilla said:

    One problem with both of those things is that they take a fuckload of space.

    Eh we got space. Let's dedicate all of Utah to power generation and turn its residents into powerslaves.

    @Jarry said:

    that's why the tech is now drifting to mirrors and molten salt like @blakeyrat said.

    What we really, really need is order-of-magnitude better battery technology. Batteries are really the limiting factor in ALL of these considerations.



  • Huh... just assume that the future invents some magic energy storage method, problem solved!



  • @boomzilla said:

    >Because, pinch yourself, solar power is predicted[by whom?] to become the dominant source of electricity globally by 2050.

    WTFY



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Eh we got space. Let's dedicate all of Utah to power generation and turn its residents into powerslaves.

    Yeah, but that's not where we want all that power. So now we have super duper transmission problems, too. Which assumes (for pedantic sake) that you could get the greenies to let you spoil that much land to begin with. Or deal with the headaches of maintenance out in BFE Utah. Ugh.



  • @boomzilla said:

    Which assumes (for pedantic sake) that you could get the greenies

    Nah, even those guys don't give a shit about Utah.



  • @HardwareGeek said:

    WTFY

    Eh, the article has links to other news stories and some IEA bullshit, but sourcing that stuff doesn't matter, because fuck it all, it's bullshit.



  • IMO that's the magic energy storage method. but i'm no expert on this things


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Why solar power isn't going to be the major energy source in the middle future:
    http://denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2002/07/Carbonemissions.shtml
    In followup articles, he talks about most of the other forms of renewable energy.



  • I have no sources other than word-of-mouth, but Rock Port, Missouri is near my old stomping grounds and was supposedly the first 100% wind-powered city in the United States. The windmills there are so fragile and maintenance-intensive that they are way more expensive to operate than simply pulling power off the grid from the local coal plants.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    Unless it's a jet, a solar power plane isn't gonna suck at all... It might blow though...

    :rimshot:


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