Bristol company to launch world’s first solar powered hot air balloon

In a pioneering world first, Bristol based hot air balloon manufacturer, Cameron Balloons, is intending to unveil a solar powered hot air balloon in August 2015.

Made from polyurethane coated panels the craft has been several years in the making with research, design and testing now completed. Satisfied with their prototypes, a team of ten people working in the Bedminster factory has now commenced the construction of a full-scale balloon using 1600 square metres of the special nylon material; upon completion, it will have taken around 200 man hours to create.

The balloon has two main types of material to maximise the recovery of the sun’s rays with one side of the balloon being black to absorb heat and the other silver to reflect it.

Due to make its maiden voyage at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta (7th-10th August 2015) the hot air balloon will be the first certified aircraft to be powered by solar power in the world which meets operational safety requirements.

The aircraft will have traditional propane burners on board primarily to assist in take-off and landing and to provide backup but will partially be powered by solar energy. As European Green Capital the launch of the energy saving balloon in Bristol will be well received by environmentalists. Cameron Balloons hopes that the project will see more up take in the technology and isn’t just seen as a gimmick.

Chairman Andrew Garrad, said:

“I am very much looking forward to celebrating its maiden voyage in August and hope that this project will inspire many more firsts for Bristol.”

Leave a Reply