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Newsletter July 2010


Innovation—In the Air, On the Ground

Innovation is increasingly becoming part of the Greek landscape, as demonstrated by two novel projects, one in air surveillance and one in a new hydrogen-powered car.

Air Surveillance
Two fourth-year students at the Greek Air Force academy 'Ikaron' have designed and built a small, unmanned aircraft powered by electricity generated in photovoltaic elements to help patrol forests and assist in preventing fires, guarding borders and providing security for installations.

The aircraft, christened 'Molivada I' in honor of WWII veteran Greek pilot and engineer Stefanos Molivadas, carried out its first test flight above the Ikaron School, successfully transmitting images of the campus.

The plane is designed to have a high degree of autonomy so that it can carry out lengthy surveillance missions, using a wireless system for recording and transmitting images in real time.

The plane was creating by attaching a lightweight camera and wireless transmission system to an electric glider with a weight of 1.35 kilos and a wingspan of two metres, while on the wings of the plane the students attached an array of photovoltaic elements with a maximum output of 18.38 watts that feeds a 1500 mAh battery.

The overall cost of its development and construction was very low, less than 1,000 Euro, including tools and construction materials, and its construction took just 200 workhours.

Green Car on the Way
In approximately two years, mass production of a green car that will be powered by hydrogen is expected to begin, according to Mr. George Lagios, owner of Tropical S.A. the company that will manufacture the car. Following many years of experiments and research, Mr. Lagios and his team came out in 2003 with a car that will benefit the environment as well as its owners. The research team estimates that this car, which will only emit oxygen & pure water, will cost only one Euro per 100 kilometers. Its purchase price is estimated at 15,000 Euros. The function of the car is quite simple: hydrogen produced from the electrolysis of water to oxygen and hydrogen from which hydrogen will be stored in small bottles (low pressure hydrogen tanks) in the back of the car, will get the engine started. The main question arising is, of course, where will drivers find the hydrogen. Mr. Lagios explains that this will either be done from a household producing hydrogen apparatus (called water electrolyser), where the photovoltaic panels will absorb solar energy that will electrolyze water, or by visiting hydrogen filling stations which, according to a European agreement, Greece is obliged to establish in a few years.