Solar Impulse

© Fotolia.com/Алексей Вахитов

Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg have just flown all around the world in their solar aircraft "Solar Impulse 2", which is powered by four solar electric motors. The two scientists took off from Abu Dhabi on 9 March 2015, and landed back there tonight (CEST) after flying more than 40,000 kilometres across two oceans and four continents. That is the first circumnavigation of the world in an airplane powered by renewable energy rather than fossil fuel. The two men want their mission to promote the use of renewable energy in the fight to mitigate climate change.

State Secretary Baake said: "Two pioneers have completed the first flight around the world in a solar aircraft. Just before they took off from Abu Dhabi, I wished Bertrand Piccard, André Borschberg and their team a successful journey, and I have since been closely following their progress. I congratulate them on their impressive achievement! It is a fascinating example of a successful transition to 100% renewable energy."

Solar Impulse 2 flew across two oceans and four continents during its circumnavigation of the world. The toughest stage was the crossing of the Pacific from Japan to Hawaii, which lasted five days and nights without a break. The aircraft was built from 2011 to 2014, and presented to the public on 9 April 2014. Solar Impulse 2 has a wingspan of 72 metres and, thanks to its innovative lightweight carbon-fibre construction, only weighs as much as a mid-size car. It is a model example of how to combine energy efficiency and renewable energy. The aircraft is fitted with 17,000 solar cells. The batteries use a new type of electrolyte.