Crossing the globe with Algal Bio Fuel and Sunshine

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Peter Berlin reports for France24.com that French adventurer Raphaël Dinelli plans to fly across the Atlantic in 2015 in a plane powered only by algae and sunshine. Dinelli, 44, a well-known French round-the-world sailor, has designed a non-polluting plane, called Eraole. He hopes it will be the first plane to leave no carbon footprint when it flies.

“I want to attempt what Charles Lindbergh did in 1927, namely to cross the Atlantic solo and non-stop. If I succeed, it will be the first transatlantic flight in history without a carbon footprint,” he told France’s Le Figaro newspaper.

Eraole plane powered only by algae and sunshine.Eraole, will be eight meters long with a wingspan of 14 meters and made of carbon fibre. It will weigh 750 kilograms. The solar panels will generate 25 per cent of its energy, Dinelli estimates.

For the estimated 50-hour flight across the Atlantic, Dinelli and his team calculated that batteries would be too heavy. They toyed with the idea of using hydrogen, but decided that would make the plane a potential “bomb.”

They ultimately turned to a diesel generator powered by oil extracted from microalgae, free of the polluting particulates and, said Dinelli, because the algae take their CO2 from the atmosphere, carbon neutral.

Algal“Aviation must turn to other technologies to limit greenhouse gas emissions and costs,” he told Le Figaro.

Dinelli plans to make the flight in June 2015 to exploit the long hours of sunshine at the summer solstice, although he says the flight will need good weather and a favorable wind. To save energy the plane could glide for three or four hours a day.
To save weight, his cockpit will also not be pressurized. “I will be cold and lack oxygen, like the aviation pioneers,” Dinelli told FRANCE 24