May 16, 2020

Chinese automated drone taxi begins trails

EHANG
China
Drone taxi
China
Sophie Chapman
2 min
EHANG trials EHANG 184
The manufacturing of the EHANG 184 “drone taxi” has reached the manned trial stage.

The Chinese aerial vehicle manufacturer, EHANG, has developed a...

The manufacturing of the EHANG 184 “drone taxi” has reached the manned trial stage.

The Chinese aerial vehicle manufacturer, EHANG, has developed a mode of transport similar in design to a quad-copter drone, but larger enough to fit a single passenger.

However, this passenger does not need to pilot the aircraft as it runs autonomously.

The dubbed drone taxi runs off electric batteries and can fly for up to an hour using its eight propellers.

When the drone taxi concept was first introduced it was widely regarded as unsafe and unrealistic.

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EHANG has developed the technology for years to heighten safety features, such as the addition of remote piloting.

During the trials of the taxi it has transported more than 40 people in a variety of weather conditions.

A member of the drone’s alumni is the Deputy Mayor of Guangzhou.

“Performing manned test flights enables us to demonstrate the safety and stability of our vehicles,” remarked Huazhi Hu, the CEO of EHANG.

“What we’re doing isn’t an extreme sport, so the safety of each passenger always comes first. Now that we’ve successfully tested the Ehang 184, I’m really excited to see what the future holds for us in terms of air mobility.”

Photo credit: EHANG

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Jul 30, 2021

First Solar to Invest US$684mn in Indian Energy Sector

FirstSolar
Energy
Manufacturing
India
Elise Leise
3 min
First Solar will launch an advanced PV manufacturing plant in Tamil Nadu to support Indian solar independence

First Solar is about to set up a new photovoltaic (PV) thin-film solar manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, India. The 3.3GW factory will create 1,000 skilled jobs and is expected to launch its operations in Q3 of 2023. According to the company, India needs 25+ gigawatts of solar energy to be deployed each year for the next nine years. This means that many of First Solar’s Indian clients will jump at the chance to have access to the company’s advanced PV. 

 

Said Mark Widmar, First Solar’s CEO: ‘India is an attractive market for First Solar not simply because our module technology is advantageous in its hot, humid climate. It’s an inherently sustainable market, underpinned by a growing economy and appetite for energy’. 

A Bit of Background 

First Solar is a leading global provider of photovoltaic systems. It uses advanced technology to generate clear, reliable energy around the world. And even though it’s headquartered in the US, the company has invested in storage facilities around the world. It displaced energy requirements for a desalination plant in Australia, launched a source of reliable energy in the Middle East (Dubai, UAE), and deployed over 4.5GW of energy across Europe with its First Solar modules

 

The company is also known for its solar innovation, reporting that it sees gains in efficiency three times faster than multi-crystalline silicon technology. First Solar holds world records in thin-film cell conversion efficiency (22.1%) and module conversion efficiency (18.2%). Finally, it helps its partners develop, finance, design, construct, and operate PV power plants—which is exactly what we’re talking about. 

How Will The Tamil Nadu Plant Work?

Tamil Nadu will use the same manufacturing template as First Solar’s new Ohio factory. According to the Times of India, the factory will combine skilled workers, artificial intelligence, machine-to-machine communication, and IoT connectivity. In addition, its operations will adhere to First Solar’s Responsible Sourcing Solar Principles, produce modules with a 2.5x lower carbon footprint, and help India become energy-independent. Said Widmar: ‘Our advanced PV module will be made in India, for India’. 

 

After all, we must mention that part of First Solar’s motivation in Tamil Nadu is to ensure that India doesn’t rely on Chinese solar. ‘India stands apart in the decisiveness of its response to China’s strategy of state-subsidised global dominance of the crystalline silicon supply chain’, Widmar explained. ‘That’s precisely the kind of level playing field needed for non-Chinese solar manufacturers to compete on their own merits’. 

 

According to First Solar, India’s model should be a template for like-minded nations. Widmar added: ‘We’re pleased to support the sustainable energy ambitions of a major US ally in the Asia-Pacific region—with American-designed solar technology’. To sum up: Indian solar power is yet the next development in the China-US trade war. Let the PV manufacturing begin. 

 

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