Solar Impulse - or how to make the impossible possible
The Solar Impulse project is first and foremost the story of two Swiss pioneers. Bertrand Piccard, psychiatrist, visionary and author, is known for his innovative approach to progress and sustainability. André Borschberg, entrepreneur, engineer and polymath, brings a unique synergy of skills and experience to the project.
Solar Impulse presents a challenge that is both technical and human. It has taken these two adventurers more than a decade of thought, calculation, testing, research and analysis to create this aircraft, to make it light, solid and manoeuvrable enough to allow 120 continuous hours of uninterrupted, independent flight, only fuelled by solar energy.
Last year marked the conclusion of the round-the-world flight that began in March 2015. Solar Impulse demonstrated that solutions to the enormous challenge of climate change do exist – thanks to a cocktail of imagination, the latest technology, a good dash of pioneering spirit and a twist of madness.
Madness? Perhaps, but Solar Impulse showcases the qualities needed to carry out, through a long-term project, a clear focus on the future of our energy use: a strong team spirit, an efficient search for partners who understand both public and private sectors – all wrapped up in a spirit of adventure that captivates all involved.
An extraordinary eco-adventure project
Solar Impulse is an unparalleled eco-adventure project. Working from scratch, the Solar Impulse team has created an extraordinary aircraft that brought about a minor revolution in a high-tech universe still all too dependent on fossil fuels. It reflects a particularly Swiss capacity for innovation, supported by a web of SMEs drawn not only from the cleantech sector, but also from the materials, energy and mechanical engineering industries. With ingenuity, excellent professional training, synergies between different fields and ever-improving technology, we are able to push back the boundaries of what is possible. And so the dream becomes reality, and what better than an adventure like this to mobilise the younger generations as we approach an energy watershed. The time to act is now!
A revolution in thinking and technology
The various forms of renewable energy – wind, solar, tidal and biomass – will evolve further in the coming years. Every effort must be made to slow down climate change, and renewables have solutions to offer. They will generate considerable investment, create jobs and boost research and industrial momentum on all continents.
In this sense, Solar Impulse is an ambassador of great hope for humanity. Clean technologies enable us to advance and evolve in the right direction. These technologies already exist, and it is up to us to learn to use them effectively. A revolution in thinking and technology is already underway. Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg invite us to be part of it and work together towards a brighter future.