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Russia considers solar power for planes

Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade (Minpromtorg) has ordered several studies into fuel alternatives for its civilian aircraft industry, including solar energy. Around RUB628 million (US$ 21 million; €15.5 million) has reportedly been earmarked for the research.
Sheremetyevo airport, Russia

Russia is looking to expand its domestic airline industry.

According to a statement released by Minpromtorg, the research is necessary on the back of a need to expand Russia’s domestic airline industry and, thus, a need for more fuel. In addition to reducing reliance on fossil fuels, the ministry says the use of alternative fuels will help reduce emissions.

Minpromtorg says it intends to make RUB628 million available for the studies. The ministry is expected to select successful companies, via a tender process, to conduct the research by this March. The results are then scheduled to be presented in 2015. If successful, they will then be shared with Russia’s aviation companies.

This is the second project dealing with the use of solar energy in aircraft, undertaken by the Russian government. The first was initiated by Russia’s Ministry of Defense, and investigated the use of solar energy in light aircraft. However due to unsatisfactory results, the project was stopped in 2010.



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