It is very kewl to come up with an energy-efficient vehicle like the Hy-Bird, but even better to design one that is recyclable. Roland Cernat’s Oriens Glider combines “an ecological energy concept and sustainable materials, with an organic design language and bionic inspired details.”
Translated, this means a frame of a lightweight flax bio-compound and a body of polycarbonate. The wings have photovoltaic cells and its electric motor has a propeller that retracts when gliding. A fuel engine and generator make the plane a hybrid. Cernat’s prototype was so impressive it recently won the Lucky Strike Junior Designer Competition.
Look what may be in space by the year 2010. The Xcor Lynx is a two-seater that can handle suborbital flying and takes off on a regular runway. It has so far been tested up to about 37 miles over the planet. Intended as a glider on the return flight, it can also come back by engine. About the same size of a small private plane, Xcor Aerospace said that they may be funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory for R&D. Not the first to do this, SpaceShipTwo, in development by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, may begin test flights later this year on its commercial product.
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U.S. scientists from the Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOi) in the UK have been researching an underwater robotic glider that harvests heat energy from the Caribbean. Tested since December, the device has gone thousands of kilometers without batteries. The team feels that the capsule could undertake surveys for up to six months, although it still needs batteries for data retrieval, sensors and its satellite communications system. Still, we applaud the WHOi in its green efforts and hope the fish and tourists don’t mind.
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