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Innovation for aviation and a powerful drive to find new energy solutions

Today, Monday 9 July, Solar Impulse’s partners in Madrid had the opportunity to share their experiences with the project while further reinforcing their support. But what was especially interesting was hearing how this airplane, a symbol of scientific development, energy savings and clean technologies has also brought together partners, experts and researchers to work in the name of innovation.

Although the goal is to develop a solar airplane meant to fly around the world, the benefits of this project go well beyond acting as an ambassador of renewable energies and awareness-raiser for growing energy challenges worldwide. The partners present today have reaffirmed this by elaborating upon the many applications and products that have or could have potential usage in sectors outside of aviation.

For example, one of the first main partners of Solar Impulse, Solvay, has developed 11 products for the project and more than 6’000 pieces of the airplane, which are already being employed in other industries. For example, some of these new products can be used for improved insulation in public housing or more efficient batteries which could be integrated in electric cars.

Bayer, another one of Solar Impulse’s partners, talked about the special coating they’ve developed and used on HB-SIA. It gives the aircraft a metal-like appearance despite not being metal at all. It is an extremely light substance that is resistant to different weather conditions while also having mechanical properties.

Solar Impulse’s more recent partner, Schindler, transporting over one billion people in escalators and elevators around the globe, sees in Solar Impulse a project at the forefront of innovation, seeking to decrease dependency on fossil fuels and promoting the work of a wide of engineers from different sections collaborating together to find solutions. It has chosen to invest in the project as it is in line with its values and commitment to the development of clean technologies.

Altran, Solar Impulse’s oldest partner, has offered human resources to the project, engineers who have developed Platoo (Planning Tool), the simulation software designed to calculate flight profiles adapted the weather forecast, flight authorizations, battery autonomy, etc., and who are currently developing HB-SIB’s Stabilization Augmentation System (a hardware tool which helps maintain aircraft stability thus enabling the pilot to have some much needed rest during the flight).  

And finally Omega, better known for its watches but who has provided Solar Impulse with the very important landing system (designed to determine the flight path), the energy and weight efficient LED lights that illuminate the runway during landing, and the Omega Instrument that gives the pilot a mechanical and optical warning whenever the aircraft starts to bank above the authorized 5° angle.

These are just some of the innovative and avant-garde contributions of certain of Solar Impulse’s partners. But, just as Bertrand and André said during the Press Conference, it is a great example of how a project like this can bring more than just the world’s first solar airplane able to fly through the night: it also brings financing for scientific development and a drive to push the limits to find solutions.

 

Today, Monday 9 July, Solar Impulse’s partners in Madrid had the opportunity to share their experiences with the project while further reinforcing their support. But what was especially interesting was hearing how this airplane, a symbol of scientific development, energy savings and clean technologies has also brought ...



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