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Solar power

Investigating future solutions

Solar power could have certain near-term uses onboard aircraft and in airport operations.

If solar power is a highly-promising renewable energy source for Earth-based applications, its use on aircraft has been limited because of the way such power is created and stored.  While solar energy may be able to help a small aircraft fly, it is unlikely to be a practical solution for enabling larger, commercial airliners into the sky.

The technology might take a giant leap forward with future advances; but today, even if an entire aircraft was covered with the most efficient solar panels available, this still would not be enough to propel it.  

For the more immediate future, solar power could provide electricity aboard airliners once they reach cruise altitude, or possibly help with ground operations at airports.

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Did you know?

"We surveyed over 10,000 people around the world who will be passengers in 2050 to ask what they want from the aviation industry in the future.

Their message was clear – we need to help as many people as possible share in the benefits that air transport brings, but we need to achieve this while looking after the environment."

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