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Open AccessArticle

Primary and Albedo Solar Energy Sources for High Altitude Persistent Air Vehicle Operation

University of Lincoln, School of Engineering, Brayford Pool, Lincoln LN6 7TS, UK
Sheffield Hallam University, Department of Engineering and Mathematics, City Campus, Howard Street, Sheffield S1 1WB, UK
Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Department Mechanical Engineering, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussel, Belgium
University of Derby, College of Engineering and Technology, Kedleston Rd, Derby DE22 1GB, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Francesco Calise
Energies 2017, 10(4), 573;
Received: 15 November 2016 / Revised: 7 April 2017 / Accepted: 10 April 2017 / Published: 22 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next-Generation Low-Carbon Power and Energy Systems)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: airship; photovoltaics; albedo; cloud albedo; persistent air vehicle airship; photovoltaics; albedo; cloud albedo; persistent air vehicle
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MDPI and ACS Style

Smith, T.; Trancossi, M.; Vucinic, D.; Bingham, C.; Stewart, P. Primary and Albedo Solar Energy Sources for High Altitude Persistent Air Vehicle Operation. Energies 2017, 10, 573.

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