Modeling and Implementing Power Electronics Systems for Solar Powered RC Planes

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Abstract

This BSc thesis concerns the solar plane bachelor graduation project. This project aims to improve the flight time of a commercially available RC plane by utilizing photovoltaic technologies. In this thesis the power electronics system that supplies power generated by photovoltaic technologies to the RC plane used during the solar plane project will be designed, modeled, implemented and tested. Utilizing Matlab Simulink, the power usage and generation of the solar plane is modeled and simulated. The final simulink model is used to determine the performance of the plane by ways of predefined performance parameters. This model shows that for the chosen RC plane of the solar plane project, flight times equal to 16.76 times its initial flight time can be achieved if the plane is flown during the day. Under a constant irradiance of 800 W/m2, even continuous flight is possible. The implementation of this power electronics system is tested both as a stand alone system and on the solar plane during flight. The system shows an efficiency of 85% to 90% for power conversion at an input power of 10+ Watts.