Ariel Schwartz

World's First Solar-Powered Blimp Set to Cross the English Channel

by , 06/24/10
filed under: Solar Power

solar blimp projet sol'r, solar power, solar energy, nephelios, france, airship, blimp

Can a blimp propelled entirely by solar power cross the English Channel? We’re about to find out! Nephelios, the world’s first solar blimp, was built by Projet Sol’r — a collaboration between students at engineering and technical schools in France. Now, almost a year after its debut (and a year after it was supposed to launch), the helium-filled airship is ready for action — its inaugural flight is set to take place as soon as next week.

solar blimp projet sol'r, solar power, solar energy, nephelios, france, airship, blimp

The mammoth airship measures 72 feet long and 18 feet wide and has a nylon and polyethylene aluminum frame. It also features semi-flexible solar cells that can generate up to 2.4 kilowatts — enough to keep the blimp moving at 25 mph. The cells power a motor that turns two big red propellers, which in turn are expected to send the ship across the Channel in under an hour.

We’ll be tracking the airship’s progress as it gets ready to launch — stay tuned!

+ Projet Sol’r

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1 Comment

  1. airshipblimp June 25, 2010 at 2:54 am

    Great to see a new cross channel attempt. I think a solar powered round the world flight is possible, but it will need to be a bigger flatter bag blimp with more area for solar panels and batteries for the night.
    If you want to see more on modern airships, past, present and future see: http://www.airshipblimp.com or if you just want a helium sniffing laugh try http://www.airship.me the worlds only lighter than air comedy site, with lots of funny pictures and U tube links fit for all the family.
    Regards Bond, James Bond.
    (Skyship blimp pilot in a View to a Kill)

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