Review of Power Device for Solar-Powered Aircraft Applications

Bashir Danjuma Safyanu, Mohd Noor Abdullah, Zamri Omar

Abstract


This paper reviews various power device components of solar-powered aircraft such as photovoltaic (PV) cells, maximum power point tracker (MPPT) and rechargeable batteries. The various power device components were highlighted, and the ones applicable to aircraft were analyzed, based on criteria as efficiency for photovoltaic cells; energy densities about rechargeable batteries; and maximum power point tracker on quick response to achieve maximum power point on I-V curve. Emerging technologies like photovoltaic cells, thin film cell, organic photovoltaic cell, multi-junction cell and silicon quantum dot cell, with the future potential of high efficiencies that can be used in solar-powered aircraft, were all examined. Regarding battery technology, Lithium-air battery (Li-air) was reported as having great opportunities for high energy densities capable of improving the efficiency of the solar-powered aircraft, for the greater prospect of the aviation industry. The design of efficient power device for solar-powered aircraft application is proposed. Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) solar cells were used because of its high energy conversion efficiency of 30 to 40%. A smart and intelligent MPPT Artificial Neural Network (ANN) is chosen because of its efficiency in partial shading and fast response and speed. The Li-air rechargeable battery is proposed because of its theoretical energy density of 11680 Wh/Kg.

Keywords


Solar powered aircraft; Rechargeable battery; Photovoltaic cell; Maximum power point tracker

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