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Abu Dhabi Will Host The First Solar Impulse Flight Around The World

The Solar Impulse 2 is a solar-powered airplane that will make the first solar flight around the world. The flight will start and end in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to Masdar.

H. E. Dr. Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, UAE minister of state and chairman of Masdar said: ‘Abu Dhabi, Masdar and Solar Impulse have in common a pioneering spirit, a long-term vision and a desire to explore new horizons. We share a commitment to foster the development of technological advances in alternative energy sources in order to contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable future.’, according to the Masdar press release.

I agree with that. Masdar’s projects are long-term. They don’t build temporary or transitional hybrid projects that still rely heavily on fossil fuels. They build self-sustaining solar and wind-powered projects. They are even working on a renewable energy-powered desalination project.

The Solar Impulse Project Paves The Way To A Future Of Clean Transportation

The Solar Impulse project facilitates transportation around the world without reliance on fossil fuels. These are all what I consider long-term projects, because they can be relied on for many years to come, regardless of fuel supply disruptions and scarcity.

These projects also provide proof-of-concept, and hence, motivation to prospective technology developers in the UAE to develop equally (or more) brilliant technology.

As Bertrand Piccard, the co-founder of Solar Impulse said:

‘This well-matched partnership will showcase Abu Dhabi as a centre of expertise when it comes to renewable energy and at the same time Solar Impulse will demonstrate the far-reaching applications of clean energy during the first solar-powered flight around the world,”

André Borschberg, the other founder of Solar Impulse continued: ‘We have chosen this location as being the best and most suitable departure and return point for the round-the-world tour, due to its climate, infrastructure and commitment to clean technologies.’

The new Solar Impulse 2 is built with a wider wingspan (72 meters, which is greater than that of a 747), it is made from lighter materials, it has more efficient motors, 17,000 solar cells and an improved cabin.

Who said that solar airplanes should be built like traditional ones? I think it was smart to take advantage of the wide wings that aircrafts have, make them even wider, and install solar cells on them. Solar power systems are easiest to integrate into flat surfaces. Curved surfaces require inefficient flexible solar panels.

Despite the wide wingspan, it weighs only 2,300 kg (5,070 pounds). The Solar Impulse 2 will be delivered from the Payerne aerodome in Switzerland near the end of this year. It will be displayed during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week at the World Future Energy Summit.

Main source: Masdar.

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