Damaged batteries have forced the Swiss Solar Impulse 2 plane to make a long stopover in Hawaii. The solar-powered plane’s battery system overheated during the five-day flight from Japan.
“The damage to certain parts of the batteries is irreversible and will require repairs and replacements that will take several weeks to work through,” announced the Solar Impulse team on Saturday, noting that the Si2 would not fly before the beginning of August.
The battery temperature increased too much during its ascent after leaving Nagoya, Japan. The mission control team monitored this closely, but “there was no way to decrease the temperature for the remaining duration of the flight as each daily cycle requires an ascent to 28,000 feet and descent for energy management issues”.
Now the Solar Impulse engineering team is looking into various options for better management of the cooling and heating processes for very long flights. Two more segments of the round-the-world tour will last several days: Hawaii to Phoenix and the Atlantic crossing.
Solar Impulse is attempting the first ever round-the-world solar flight to encourage the adoption of clean technologies, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Since it started in Abu Dhabi in March, Si2 has completed eight legs covering nearly 18,000 km.