Abu Dhabi, capital city of the United Arab Emirates, will be the start and finish of the first solar-powered flight around the world, which Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg are planning to undertake in March 2015 with Solar Impulse 2 (Si2).
The announcement was made in New York during the United Arab Emirates reception on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in the presence of Didier Burkhalter, President of the Swiss Confederation, and His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nayhan, UAE Minister for Foreign Affairs and Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations. Also in attendance were officials from over 50 countries represented by Heads of State, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Heads of Permanent Missions to the United Nations.
Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, is the host partner of Solar Impulse. The team will be hosted by Masdar and Abu Dhabi at the start of January for testing and training before the start of the first solar-powered flight around the world, which is due to take place in March 2015. (Photo – from left to right: Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber (Minister of State in the United Arab Emirates and Chairman of Masdar), Bertrand Piccard (Initiator, Chairman and Pilot of Solar Impulse), H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (United Arab Emirates Minister of Foreign Affairs), H.E. Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh (Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations), André Borschberg (co-founder, CEO and Pilot of Solar Impulse)
Masdar has been tasked by the government with investing in and advancing the renewable energy and clean technology industry both domestically and internationally. H. E. Dr. Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, UAE minister of state and chairman of Masdar said: “Abu Dhabi, Masdar and Solar Impulse have in common a pioneering spirit, a long-term vision and a desire to explore new horizons. We share a commitment to foster the development of technological advances in alternative energy sources in order to contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable future.”
The relationship between Masdar and Solar Impulse started in 2003 from a common perspective shared between the UAE leadership and the Solar Impulse founders Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg. The goal is to promote technological values together to preserve the planet’s resources, in a bid to encourage political leaders and organisations to adopt cleaner and more efficient technologies.
“This well-matched partnership will show Abu Dhabi to be a centre of expertise when it comes to renewable energy and at the same time Solar Impulse will demonstrate the far-reaching applications of clean energy during the first solar-powered flight around the world,” declared Bertrand Piccard (Initiator, Chairman and Pilot of Solar Impulse). André Borschberg (Co-founder, CEO and Pilot of Solar Impulse) continued: “We have chosen this location as being the best and most suitable departure point for the round-the-world tour, due to its climate, infrastructure and commitment to clean technologies.”
The round-the-world tour is expected to take 25 flying days over a period of 4 to 5 months. Solar Impulse is currently finalising the stages after Abu Dhabi and looks to make stopovers in Asia, the United States and in Southern Europe or North Africa, before returning to Abu Dhabi in July 2015. Some flights over the Pacific and the Atlantic will last 5 to 6 days, a feat made possible by Solar Impulse 2’s ability to fly almost indefinitely without fuel.
Si2 will be delivered to Abu Dhabi by cargo plane from the Payerne aerodrome in Switzerland towards the end of the year and will be showcased during the World Future Energy Summit as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which is hosted by Masdar between 17 and 22 January 2015.