ABB to showcase world’s first solar-powered flight at WFES 2015

Solar Impulse 1The plane is touted to be the biggest and the lightest until date, the inventors said. (Image source: Solar Impulse)ABB, leading power and automation technology group, has partnered with Swiss inventors Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg to build world’s first solar-powered airplane

At the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) that will be held in Abu Dhabi on 19-22 January 2015, attendees can take a look at Solar Impulse, which would attempt a record breaking round-the-world flight powered by the sun, at the ABB stand.

The revolutionary carbon fibre airplane has the wingspan of a Boeing 747 (63.4metres) and the weight of a small car (1,600 kg). It is the result of seven years of intense work, calculations, simulations and tests by a team of about 80 people and 100 partners and advisors. The plane is touted to be the biggest and the lightest until date, the inventors said.

The 12,000 solar cells built into the wing provide four 10 hp electric motors with renewable energy. By day the solar cells recharge the 400 kg lithium batteries, which allow the plane to fly at night.

On 9 April 2015, the team will unveil the new airplane, which will be used to attempt the round-the-world flight. The Solar Impulse can fly day and night on solar power, without a drop of fuel, according to the Swiss pioneers.

Technology advances and lower cost solar means has been growing in potential across the Middle East region, from homes to large-scale centralised generation plants and remote locations.

Record-breaking flights across Europe, the Mediterranean Sea and the USA brought worldwide attention to the Solar Impulse endeavour, launched by Piccard and Borschberg, proving the enormous potential of clean technologies.

ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer said, “This partnership brings together two Swiss-based global leaders that are passionate about pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation to achieve a better world.

“We believe in Bertrand’s vision, and we are convinced that by pioneering innovative technologies we will be able to decouple economic growth from energy consumption and environmental impact. Today, ABB is a global leader for solutions to enable energy efficiency, sustainable transportation and renewables and like Solar Impulse we are always challenging the boundaries of what is technologically possible.”

Solar Impulse initiator Piccard added that it was his dream to have ABB as technology partner of Solar Impulse.

“We have the same goal of improving the world by using energy more efficiently and conserving natural resources,” he added.

Co-founder of Solar Impulse Borschberg noted that Solar Impulse and ABB both wanted to motivate people to use clean technologies and said that ABB and Solar Impulse will work together on key technologies like power electronics for their mutual benefit.

Switzerland-based ABB is a global leader in renewables, sustainable transportation and energy efficiency. The company is the world’s second-largest supplier of solar inverters and one of the largest suppliers to the wind power industry.

Stand no: 5551

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