Primary and albedo solar energy sources for high altitude persistent air vehicle operation

Smith, Tim and Trancossi, Michele and Vucinic, Dean and Bingham, Chris and Stewart, Paul (2017) Primary and albedo solar energy sources for high altitude persistent air vehicle operation. Energies, 10(4) (573). ISSN 1996-1073

Full content URL: http://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/10/4/573

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Abstract

A new class of the all electric airship to globally transport both passengers and freight using
a ‘feeder-cruiser’ concept, and powered by renewable electric energy, is considered. Specific focus is
given to photo-electric harvesting as the primary energy source and the associated hydrogen-based
energy storage systems. Furthermore, it is shown that the total PV output may be significantly
increased by utilising cloud albedo effects. Appropriate power architectures and energy audits
required for life support, and the propulsion and ancillary loads to support the continuous daily
operation of the primary airship (cruiser) at stratospheric altitudes (circa 18 km), are also considered.
The presented solution is substantially different from those of conventional aircraft due to the airship
size and the inherent requirement to harvest and store sufficient energy during “daylight” operation,
when subject to varying seasonal conditions and latitudes, to ensure its safe and continued operation
during the corresponding varying “dark hours”. This is particularly apparent when the sizing of
the proposed electrolyser is considered, as its size and mass increase nonlinearly with decreasing
day-night duty. As such, a Unitized Regenerative Fuel Cell is proposed. For the first time the
study also discusses the potential benefits of integrating the photo-voltaic cells into airship canopy
structures utilising TENSAIRITY®-based elements in order to eliminate the requirements for separate
inter-PV array wiring and the transport of low pressure hydrogen between fuel cells.

Keywords:albedo, photovoltaics, Airships, cloud albedo, persistent air vehicle
Subjects:H Engineering > H100 General Engineering
H Engineering > H221 Energy Resources
H Engineering > H630 Electrical Power
H Engineering > H400 Aerospace Engineering
Divisions:College of Science > School of Engineering
ID Code:28303
Deposited On:16 Aug 2017 13:11

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