Solvay is delighted to accompany Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg in the second and final part of their world tour with Solar Impulse 2 (Si2), which resumed its flight today from Hawaii (United States) to San Francisco to gradually head 17,000 km back to Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) – on just the sun’s energy.
Ever since Solvay became the first partner of the Solar Impulse project in 2004, its research and innovation teams have been essential in minimizing the weight of the plane through Solvay’s unique and leading expertise in ultra-strong, ultra-light materials and in maximizing the energy storage of its batteries, allowing it to also fly during the night. Si2, which last year successfully accomplished the first part of its world tour, has a 72 meter wing span but weighs about as much as a jeep and its horse power is similar to that of a motorbike.
“We wish both pilots the best of luck in completing this audacious adventure and wish Bertrand Piccard a safe kick-off flight to the U.S. mainland,” said Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, CEO of Solvay. “Solvay as Solar Impulse’s first historical partner is particularly proud this time: through our recent acquisition of Cytec, more than half of this plane’s structure consists of Solvay materials. Once more, Solvay’s ‘flying lab’ will show our contribution in making the impossible possible with our innovative solutions in clean energy and in CO2 emission reductions.”
Solvay provides 15 innovative products applied in more than 6,000 parts that help harvest and store energy, optimize fuel consumption and lightweight the plane. Moreover, it supplies the structural adhesives and pre-impregnated fibres used to build the wing spars and rear stabilizer parts, also of the first Solar Impulse.
All these materials are already part of our daily lives, in applications ranging from automotive and aerospace to construction and smart devices.
Si2 will visit several U.S. destinations, fly to Europe or North Africa – all determined by weather conditions – and then return to Abu Dhabi. The solar plane’s track record of success peaked last year when André Borschberg crossed the Pacific Ocean from Nagoya (Japan) to Hawaii in an unprecedented flight of 5 days and nights.
Brussels, April 21, 2016