On the 26th July of this year, yet another feat shook the world of aeronautical sciences, with the completion of a round-the-world journey by the first aircraft powered by solar energy. The airplane, called Solar Impulse, flew over four continents and covered 43,000 kilometres - all without a single drop of fuel. Instead, 17,000 solar cells were used, which enabled the airplane to fly both day and night.
In comparison, the tank of a Boeing 737-800 aircraft can carry 21 tons of aviation fuel, equivalent to the weight of 26 cars, although, such a plane is obviously far more complex and designed to also transport passengers and cargo. Countless numbers of flights cross the skies of our planet every day, transporting around three billion people a year, and the environmental impact of aviation is not negligible. The burning of aviation fuel produces tons of a range of pollutants that contribute to global warming and are harmful to human health, such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.
Thus, clean energy that causes no damage to the environment, avoids pollution and helps limit temperature increases on the Earth, is a far better alternative. Solar energy is a form of clean energy, where photovoltaic cells, also known as solar cells, capture energy from the sun through silicon, their main component. For many people, the ability to produce clean energy will be the basis for the continuation of the human race.
(Link to Portuguese version article in the Diário Popular of Pelotas)