Solar-powered plane completes round-the-globe trip

World Today

Solar-powered plane completes round-the-globe trip

The Solar Impulse 2 has completed its round-the-globe flight without using a drop of fossil fuel.

CCTV America’s Jessica Stone reports.

Solar-powered plane completes round-the-globe trip

The Solar Impulse 2 has finished its journey from Abu Dhabi, through Japan and China, all the way to the United States and Europe. People might be surprised to know that this plane is not promoting solar-powered flight, but using instead smarter energy. CCTV America's Jessica Stone reports.

Solar Impulse 2 landed in Abu Dhabi Monday the same way it took off 16 months ago — no roaring engines, no fumes, just a quiet hum.

After circling the globe, pilot Bertrand Piccard issued a challenge to the world.

“We have flown one after the other in the cockpit for 40,000 kilometers without fuel, and now the demonstration is done,” Piccard said. “It means that the rest of the world has to take it further.”

Piccard and his flying partner, Andre Borschberg, have circled the globe, gliding over the pyramids of Giza, through Chongqing, China and Silicon Valley, California, all in the interests of showing what the power of the sun can do.

“This efficiency will be required in the future,” Borschberg said. “That’s the reason why you see now NASA starting a new project to develop an electric airplane. That’s why you see Airbus who just announced yesterday that they are cancelling the development of a four-seater electric airplane because they think it’s not ambitious enough and they want to develop a 20-seat electric airplane.”

A team of 130 people guided Solar Impulse through its global journey. Each flight is a testament to technological problems they had to solve to make the plane airworthy. Piccard says heights don’t scare him. But something else does.

“What really frightens me is to live in a world that burns one million tons of oil every hour without even counting gas and coal changing climate, destroying the environment, depleting natural resources and polluting the air,” Piccard said. “That makes me really afraid.”

With a completed journey, Solar Impulse’s founders now want the world to use renewable energy solutions in everyday life.

Solar Impulse has set up the Committee for Clean Technologies to build on clean energy solutions for the future. According to Solar Impulse, 400 global organizations have already joined together to advise governments and corporations on how to use new clean technologies.