[Originally posted on EcoGeek. One of the topics we love to cover on EcoGeek is airships. This is an intriguing vehicle that is part airship and part flying wing airplane (with the top surface covered with solar panels).]

Incorporating solar power onto airships is not an entirely new idea, but we continue to find interesting developments of the concept. The latest is the Solar Ship,a hybrid aircraft that merges bouyant lifting and aerodynamics as well as thin-film solar panels. The combination makes for a long-range vessel that is able to take-off and land on very short airfields.

Earlier studies have been critical of the efficiency of airships, finding that trucks offer a lower overall cost in time and energy. But that presupposes the existence of a network of available roads. While developed areas may be more readily served by trucks, they are less than ideal for many other parts of the world.

The Solar Ship concept was specifically developed for use in areas without a network of roads available. The two areas being focused on at present are to provide medical services in remote areas and to provide cargo transport alternatives to the “ice roads” presently used to move supplies in the high Arctic.

Read the whole article at EcoGeek.