M a r k e t N e w s

Solar Ship To Cruise African Skies

Posted on : Friday, 23rd September 2016

 Manaf Freighters has announced it will purchase four of Solar Ship’s aircraft for use in cargo delivery and disaster relief in remote areas of East and Central Africa.

A solarship is more than just a blimp. It’s a hybrid aircraft that combines aerodynamic lift, aerostatic lift and solar power into a long range and very energy efficient cargo carrier. The manufacturer says the approach provides the lifting capacity of a truck while providing the plucky performance of a bush plane.
 
We first covered Solar Ship back in 2011 and it’s good to see the Canada-based company forging ahead.
Manaf’s purchase consists of  two Caracal aircraft and two Wolverine aircraft.
 
The Caracal has a payload capability of at least 200 kg and a range that exceeds 200 km. It has a 50m wingspan (blimpspan?) and is able to take off and land in the length of a soccer field.
 
The Wolverine is a much bigger aircraft with far greater capabilities. With a wingspan of 50 metres, it’s able to carry a minimum of 5 tonnes and has a range of at least 500 kilometres
 
“We have been working with Manaf since 2014 to establish their requirements and to develop the right aircraft for their needs,” says Solar Ship’s Director of Africa Operations, Michel Rugema.
 
“The goal of our platform is to access areas where there is no infrastructure so we can help people in their daily lives and unleash their economic potential.”
 
The purchase is part of Solar Ship and Manaf’s joint venture, called Peace & Freedom Services.
” The need for Peace & Freedom Services is immediate in our region. Many lives are being lost and our joint venture promises to improve the quality of life in regions that have, up until now, been inaccessible or diminished by war,” said Manaf CEO, Fred Nimubona.
 
An even larger solarship model is still on the drawing board – Nanuq. With a monstrous span of 100 metres, it will be able to carry 30 tonnes and have a range of more than 2,000 kilometres.
 
Earlier this year, Solar Ship also began working with the Government of Canada to expand the nation’s future capabilities in peacekeeping, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.
 
While solarships can be powered using solar panels, batteries and electric motors, combustion engines are also an option. However, the company says the goal is to develop a new transportation method independent of fossil fuels.

Source : www.energymatters.com.au
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