Solar aircraft crosses the Atlantic

ABB Australia Pty Ltd

Friday, 24 June, 2016

Solar aircraft crosses the Atlantic

Solar Impulse, the solar aircraft created by Swiss explorers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, has completed a 71-hour transatlantic flight from New York to Seville. The flight was part of the plane’s round-the-world journey, which began last year in Abu Dhabi.

The aeroplane relies on solar cells, batteries and lightweight composites to accomplish the task of flying around the globe without consuming any fossil fuels. It uses a high-capacity lithium-polymer battery system to permit it to fly through the night as well as in full sunlight.

“This aircraft is essentially a flying smart grid, using the energy collected from renewable sources and then providing it efficiently to users who may require it at a different period of time from when it was generated,” explained Borschberg.

The explorers are being supported in their journey by power and automation company ABB, which provides a range of products that increase the efficiency of transport systems while reducing their environmental impact on multiple fronts. According to ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer, Solar Impulse represents just the opening stage of a new golden age of environmentally friendly transportation.

“We are seeing huge new opportunities in the field of sustainable transport,” said Spiesshofer. “Recent technological developments are opening the way to major advances in energy efficiency and productivity. We are only just beginning to realise the full potential of these changes.”

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