Solar Impulse 2 completes record-breaking round-the-world trip
A solar-powered plane, equipped with 17,248 solar cells, completed the final leg of its record-breaking circumnavigation journey around the world last night (25 July).
The Solar Impulse 2 aircraft landed in Abu Dhabi after a 48-hour journey from the city of Cairo in Egypt to the UAE. Pilot Bertrand Piccard successfully finished the journey, bringing the total travel distance to more than 42,000km across 17 stages.
Co-pilot André Borschberg was influential as a member of the support team on the ground, ensuring that the plane not only completed the journey, but ensured that the entire venture was a zero-emission circumnavigation.
“Beyond this historic milestone, the two Swiss pioneers will continue to urge the global implementation of energy efficient solutions through the creation of the International Committee for Clean Technologies and leverage the expertise and technology gained over the years in Solar Impulse by launching new innovative projects, such as the development of solar powered drones,” the Solar Impulse 2 team said.
The entirety of the Solar Impulse 2 journey has seen the plane pass over China, the US and Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The tour started in March 2015, and if it weren’t for a 10-month layover in Hawaii due to overheated plane batteries, could have broken more than the 19 Federation Internationale de l'Automobile word records that it achieved.
Sky is not the limit
The carbon-fibre plane is already exciting green groups with the founder of Good Energy Juliet Davenport claiming that the accomplishment “marks a page in the history books for both pioneering innovation and renewables”.
“Turns out the Sky is NOT the limit,” Davenport said. “While commercial flights may still be a few years away, this feat proves the power of solar and I hope starts a revolution in people’s minds about how we use cleaner, greener technologies."
IRENA’s Director-General Adnan Z. Amin also commented on the feat, stating that the “age of renewable power is here to stay”.
“This impressive feat is another proof-point that we have entered a period of sustained growth for renewable energy,” Amin said. “Today, we are seeing renewable energy costs fall and investments soar to record levels – such that renewables are competing head-to-head with power from other energy sources. As a result, more renewables are being added to the global power generation mix than from all other sources combined.
“Even with this progress, more must be done if we are to meet global targets on climate and sustainable development. I am confident that with more of such pioneering endeavours, like the one completed today, we will rise to meet and overcome the challenges that lie ahead.”
In light of this impressive accomplishment, edie has rounded up all the key facts, as well as all of the key landmarks on the journey, as a means to present the truly revolutionary nature of this journey into one easy-to-read gallery.
Matt Mace & Cameron Joshi