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).


Continue Reading

Login or register for unlimited FREE access.

Login Register

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.

//
Powered by Cincopa Podcast Hosting for Business solution.Solar Impulse 2: the journeyA look back at the historic journey of the Solar Impulse 2 journey, and just how the team managed to keep a solar aircraft in the skies for so longThe longest stretch it flew was between Nagoya, Japan, and Hawaii – which lasted more than 117 hours, or five flight-daysoriginaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 1620height 1080The Solar Impulse plane weighs 2.3 tonnes, the same as a minivan, and can climb to as high as 28,000 feet (8,500 metres)originaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 2048height 1367It has a wingspan of 72 metres, bigger than a 747, in order to take maximum advantage of air currents to glide without using much poweroriginaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 1200height 800The plane has a cruising speed of approximately 70km/h, which is 10 times slower than most jetsoriginaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 1500height 999The motors are charged by 17,248 solar cells on its wings, and when it’s dark, by on-board rechargeable lithium batteriesoriginaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 1000height 667It seeks to complete a round-the-world trip over 17 separate flights, creating a grand total of more than 500 flight-hours, and using about 11,000 kWh of solar energyoriginaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 2048height 1366The Solar Impulse 2 project cost $177m and has the backing of the Swiss Government, and Prince Albert of Monacooriginaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 1880height 1193Its four 17.5 horsepower electrical motors are 97% energy efficient, compared to ordinary thermal engines which are only 20% efficient, and have four-metre-long propellersoriginaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 1024height 684

Matt Mace & Cameron Joshi 

© Faversham House Ltd 2022 edie news articles may be copied or forwarded for individual use only. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie

Subscribe