Solar Impulse 2, the world’s first fully clean energy powered plane will be leaving China to venture in the second part of the planned around the world journey.
The Swiss co-founders of Solar Impulse Company, Bertrand Picarrd and André Borschberg took the dare offered by solar energy and created Solar Impulse 2.
They intended the plane to travel around the world without using conventional fuel, thus pioneering a brand new daring technology.
The technology needed for the Solar Impulse 2 to exist was developed over fourteen years. Now, the experimental plane has already completed its first leg of the trip, from Abu Dhabi to Nanjing, China.
And after a pause of three weeks due to unfavorable weather conditions, it is set to leave China and reach Hawaii, marking the longest and most dangerous stretch of the journey.
The flight, estimated to take six days and six nights across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii will feature Borschberg as the only pilot in the cockpit for the entire duration of the non-stop journey. This is 8,172 kilometers flown mainly above water.
Hopefully, the team will not be set aback once again by poor weather condition. The system the two partners developed works in shifts. Bertrand Piccard, psychiatrist and explorer flew the Solar Impulse 2 from Abu Dhabi at its departure in March. The second stretch will be piloted by Borschberg. In Hawaii, Piccard will wait to pick up again and fly to Phoenix, Arizona.
It is an exciting adventure that has so far broken every record for solar flight, with this second stretch basically smashing all previous records of solo flight alone. God-willing, it will be successful.
“Now in front of us we have the biggest ocean of the world. When I initiated this project, 14 years ago now, I really had this vision of an aeroplane flying day and night with no fuel. So I’m in one of the most important moments of my life. Is my vision going to become a reality?”,
The plane features a 236-foot wingspan, yet due to lightweight carbon fiber is as heavy as a 5.070 pound car. The wings and fuselage are covered in 17,000 photovoltaic solar cells. This entails that it is crucial to balance the weight against the lithium battery storage that accumulates sufficient energy to power the Solar Impulse 2 to fly through the night.
During the day, the solar plane will fly at an altitude of 9,000 meters. When the sun goes down, so do energy that goes into the propellers and glide, prompting Solar Impulse 2 to lower its altitude to 1,000 meters, below the clouds.
The Solar Impulse project started in Myanmar as a means of bringing clean and cheap energy to people most in need. Since then, Solar Impulse took the forefront in breaking records and technological barriers.
While Piccard and Borschberg are aware that their experiment is a long way from blooming into a full-fledged airline company, they take it all in, one step at a time.
Their groundbreaking innovations in both energy efficient engines and materials benefit households around the world. And the reaction to their efforts is worthwhile.
Schools, business people, activists and politics officials from Oman, India and Burma to Nanjing were engaged in advocacy for energy efficiency.
Image Source: Greenprophet