Solar-Powered Plane Completes World Tour

Just over one year ago, the world’s first solar-powered plane set off on a journey around the world. Stocked with 17,000 solar cells, the so-dubbed Solar Impulse 2 looked to break a world record and highlight the feasibility of solar energy by flying the long-distance powered only by the sun.

The plane finally completed its journey, in spite of a few complications, on July 26 when it touched down in Abu Dhabi. The effort is seen by many as a pioneering example of the power or alternative energies.

However, this first of its kind plane did not take shape overnight. Solar Impulse 2 is the brainchild of Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, who have labored over the machine for the better part of 13 years.

This from IFLScience:

To keep its power running, the plane flew above the clouds to collect sunlight during the day, before dipping down lower at night to save its batteries. And owing to being completely solar powered, it packed a modest top speed of just 75 km/h (47 mph).

Read the full article.

“This is not only a first in the history of aviation; it’s before all a first in the history of energy,” Piccard said upon landing. “The same clean technologies used on Solar Impulse could be implemented on the ground in our daily life to divide by two the CO2 emissions in a profitable way.”

“More than a demonstration, it’s the confirmation that these technologies are truly dependable and reliable,” Borschberg added.


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