Solar-Powered Unmanned Airplane with Lithium-Sulfur Battery

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +


  • The Korea Aerospace Research Institute has conducted a battery-powered test flight of solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle EAV-3.
  • The aircraft is powered by solar cells on its wings and body and an LG Chem lithium-sulfur battery.

The Korea Aerospace Research Institute has conducted a high-altitude test flight of solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle EAV-3, which features a lithium-sulfur battery from Korean manufacturer LG Chem.

The battery company said, in a press release, the small aircraft was conceived for long flights at a stratospheric altitude of 12km or more. The airplane engine is powered by solar cells on the 20m-long wings and 9m body. “During the daytime, it flies utilizing a solar cell and battery power as a source of energy and, during the night time, it utilizes battery power charged during the day time,” said LG Chem.

The flight test was conducted in Korean airspace from 08:36 a.m. to 09:47 p.m. at an altitude of around 22km. “It flew for seven hours, out of a total of 13 flight hours, with a stable output in the stratospheric altitude of 12-22km, where a general aircraft cannot fly,” said LG Chem.

The company said EAV-3’s energy storage system had to endure difficult atmospheric conditions including temperatures of near -70 degrees Celsius and low pressure of a 25th of one atmosphere, for an environment the company described as almost a vacuum. “LG Chem plans to demonstrate a long-endurance flight that lasts more than a number of days by producing additional trial products of lithium-sulfur batteries in the future,” said the battery supplier. “Moreover, it plans to mass produce a lithium-sulfur battery that has an energy density more than twice that of the present lithium-ion battery, after 2025.”

British battery manufacturer Oxis Energy is also planning a lithium-sulfur battery powered two-seater plane. The all-electric aircraft is intended to have a flight time of more than two hours and a range of around 200 nautical miles.

Author: Emiliano Bellini

This article was originally published in pv magazine and is republished with permission.


Leave A Reply

About Author

Green Building Africa promotes the need for net carbon zero buildings and cities in Africa. We are fiercely independent and encourage outlying thinkers to contribute to the #netcarbonzero movement. Climate change is upon us and now is the time to react in a more diverse and broader approach to sustainability in the built environment. We challenge architects, property developers, urban planners, renewable energy professionals and green building specialists. We also challenge the funding houses and regulators and the role they play in facilitating investment into green projects. Lastly, we explore and investigate new technology and real-time data to speed up the journey in realising a net carbon zero environment for our children.

Copyright Green Building Africa 2024.