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PV modules to power hybrid aerial vehicle

Posted: 28 May 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PV module? photovoltaic? solar energy?

Ascent Solar Technologies Inc. has announced that its flexible thin-film photovoltaic modules will be designed into the development of a hybrid unmanned aerial vehicle (H-UAV) called the Silent Sentinel developed by Bye Aerospace Inc. The H-UAV will be designed primarily for military use; however, its capabilities will also include a broad spectrum of civil applications.

The first of its kind hybrid utilizes stored electric power, thin-film solar PV, and other technologies to enhance its endurance, quiet operations and low emissions. Bye Aerospace and Ascent Solar have teamed up to develop the solar energy capability on the aircraft. For primary propulsion the H-UAV will be coupled with an advanced Williams International FJ33 turbofan. The efficient engine will provide the UAV remarkable climb rates and high altitude quick access to areas requiring surveillance.

Charlie Johnson, chief operating officer of Bye Aerospace, said the Silent Sentinel is a robust, long-range UAV that will incorporate several proprietary clean energy features. "Ultimately, it will provide advanced tactical reconnaissance functionality while utilizing a uniquely long endurance, highly capable tactical sensor platform that is operationally stealthy and cost-effective to operate. The unique characteristics of the Ascent Solar flexible modules allow us to design this UAV to become very energy efficient."

Joseph Armstrong, chief technical officer of Ascent Solar stated, "Our flexible, monolithically integrated CIGS PV technology offers the ideal combination of low weight, higher voltage, and high performance that makes it ideal for applications such as the Silent Sentinel, and we look forward to providing Bye Aerospace the materials they require for their vehicle."

Potential military applications include border patrol, search and rescue, visual and thermal reconnaissance, and forward air control. In addition, potential civil applications include traffic control, pipeline and power line inspection, aerial law enforcement, forest fire detection and aerial photography. Initial meetings are being conducted with U.S. government entities regarding the capabilities of the aircraft. More are planned in the near term.

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