Solar Impulse 2 flying over Abu Dhabi. (Credit: Solar Impulse)
Solvay’s CEO has written an open letter to the pilots of the Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) solar airplane, thanking them for “12 extraordinary years” of big and small technical victories in sustainable materials development.
The letter, addressed to pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg upon their landing in Abu Dhabi in the early hours of this morning (26th July, 2016), sees Solvay’s Jean-Pierre Clamadieu congratulate the pair upon the culmination of their 43,041-kilometre, round-the-world journey.
"On behalf of all Solvay employees, I would like to say a huge thank you for these 12 extraordinary years, marked with dreams, challenges, big and small technological victories. These 12 years were supported by your energy and remarkable personalities which built the success of Solar Impulse day after day," Clamadieu wrote.
The company has been involved with the Solar Impulse project from the beginning and has provided fifteen products applied in more than 6,000 parts to enable the storage and optimal consumption of energy and lightweight the solar plane.
Solvay also supplied the composite materials for the wing spars and rear stabiliser parts.
"All limits of materials we have pushed further to make this plane fly with you, reinforce our belief that chemistry provides effective solutions for the sustainable development of our societies,” Clamadieu continued.
“Our Group aspires more than ever to remain a bridge between science and sustainable progress. Yes, we can ask more from chemistry," Clamadieu concluded.
Solvay added that almost all of the products that were developed for the Solar Impulse project are available in our everyday lives, in markets ranging from automotive, aviation and aerospace to construction and smart devices.
The Solar Impulse 2: Journey in Numbers
Swiss-born Piccard and Borschberg took turns at the controls of Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) their zero-emission electric and solar airplane to achieve the first ever round-the-world solar flight.
Landing back in Abu Dhabi marked the end of 23 days of flight and 43,041-kilometers travelled in a 17-leg journey.
The plane weighs only 2.3 tonnes, but has a wingspan equal to that of the largest passenger airliners.
Upon landing in Abu Dhabi, the pilots commended the technology and materials that made the accomplishment possible.
“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. Solar Impulse is only the beginning, now take it further,” said Initiator, Chairman and Pilot, Piccard, addressing the crowd while exiting the cockpit of Si2 in Abu Dhabi.
Co-founder and fellow pilot, Borschberg, added: “Flying one leg with a completely new type of airplane is difficult enough, but flying around the world is a real challenge. More than a demonstration, it’s the confirmation that these technologies are truly dependable and reliable.”
Beyond this milestone, the pilots say they will continue to urge the global implementation of energy efficient solutions. They said they intend to use the expertise and technology gained over the years in Solar Impulse by launching new innovative projects, such as the development of solar powered drones.