The sun’s rays bathe our planet with vast amounts of energy – approximately 885 million terawatt hours every year. At Airbus, we work to harvest this alternative renewable energy source to power cleaner and high-endurance stratospheric flight.

Taking unmanned aerial vehicles into the stratosphere

Today, Airbus is advancing solar cell technology to enable unmanned aerial vehicles to stay aloft in the stratosphere for extended periods – using only sunlight as energy.

Our work in solar flight is focused on:

  • Developing advanced photovoltaic solar panels that are lighter, more flexible and capable of capturing more energy per m2 of surface,
  • Converting captured solar energy into electrical energy to power an electric-propulsion system and other onboard equipment,
  • Harnessing solar energy into a rechargeable energy storage system, thereby enabling the aircraft to fly at night with unlimited autonomy.

Our flagship programme, Zephyr, is a high-altitude pseudo-satellite that is powered exclusively by solar power.

Zephyr

Zephyr

Pioneering the stratosphere

Discover Zero Emission at Airbus

 

EcoPulse™ is a distributed hybrid-propulsion aircraft demonstrator developed in partnership with Daher and Safran with the support of France’s CORAC and DGAC.

Electric flight

Laying the groundwork for zero-emission aviation
Hydrogen

Hydrogen

An important pathway to our zero-emission ambition
Zero Emission UAM

Urban Air Mobility

Taking urban transport into the sky
Space
Zephyr High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) achieves connectivity in trial conducted by Airbus and NTT DOCOMO
Airbus and NTT DOCOMO, INC. have demonstrated the ability to use its solar-powered Zephyr High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) to deliver future wireless broadband connectivity. The trial took place in the United States in August, when the Zephyr S aircraft undertook approx. 18-day stratospheric flights to test various capabilities.
Read more
Defence
Airbus Zephyr Solar High Altitude Platform System (HAPS) reaches new heights in its successful 2021 summer test flights
The Airbus Zephyr S completes a successful 2021 test flight campaign in the United States. The final Airbus solar-powered High Altitude Platform System (HAPS) flight touched down on 13th September in Arizona, USA, ending the most ambitious and successful Zephyr flight campaign to date.
Read more
Defence
The Airbus Zephyr, Solar High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) concludes a successful new test flight campaign in Arizona, USA
Airbus Defence and Space has successfully completed a new test flight campaign for its Zephyr High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) in Arizona, U.S.A.
Read more