Smart solar cells IC regulator for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or solar plane.
Chow, Kok June.
Date of Issue2009
School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Centre for Integrated Circuits and Systems
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with remote controlled capability are widely used to replace human pilots for various dangerous missions in military, surveillance and security control. There is an urgent need to use renewable energy source to replace the fuel payload and to ensure the air-bound endurance of such UAVs for prolonged mission. Recently the interest on solar power as the renewable energy source using photovoltaic cells (solar cells) attached to the wings of the UAVs has been rising significantly and a fully solar powered aircraft is sometimes referred as solar plane. However the power output from the solar cells is not stable due to variation in climate conditions and shadowing by clouds. In this project, the development of a Smart Solar Cell Regulator was carried out for the regulation of the power generated from the photovoltaic cells to support the UAVs. To maximize the use of such solar power, the major requirement of the smart regulator is to achieve minimum energy consumption and hence high efficiency energy transfer from the solar cell into useable power to drive the UAV electrical payloads, such as propeller, directly or to store on the battery on-board of the UAVs. Another concern is ensuring the minimal additional weight of the solar cell module, smart solar cell regulator and the battery on-board of the UAV to the final UAV payload. The target is to for the total additional weight for solar powered system to be low in the tens of grams. For the operation of the UAV to stay afloat hundreds to thousand-miles in the sky, such smart regulator must be able to withstand the harsh environmental condition of low temperature in the atmosphere. In order for solar cell regulator to works reliably, various schemes have to be evaluated to implement the most cost and weight efficient regulator. The aim of this project is to A study the use of custom IC design for the smart voltage regulator for individual banks of solar cells in order to achieve low weight and low power loss in energy transfer for UAV applications. Another consideration is UAV has to be able to have a long haul flight without sunlight. Some form of energy storage must be implemented together with the regulator, for storing the electrical charge for use whenever solar intensity is low.
DRNTU::Engineering::Electrical and electronic engineering::Integrated circuits
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University