I just saw this really cool video on a local news tonight about a solar power plane called “Solar Impulse” currently flying across America. The airplane prototype HIB-SIA, is the first designed to fly solely on solar power without any fuel and its goal for the second aircraft model HIB-SIB is to fly around the world in a zero-fuel aircraft by 2015.
The project was launched in 2003 and saw its first 26-hour flight in 2010 across Europe. Today, Solar Impulse took off from an airport in California cruising at 30,000 feet with 12,000 solar cells on its wings, and plans its final stop in New York’s JFK airport. I hope I will be able to see this in person! But in case I won’t be able to, you can check out their live flight in Solvay’s website or on Solar Impulse’s website.
Solvay said it became Solar Impulse’s first main partner in 2004 providing 11 products contributing to 25 different applications and more than 6,000 parts mainly in the 3 main applications of energy system, structure and weight reduction involving Solvay’s chemicals and plastics divisions.
Bayer MaterialScience said it has been an official partner to the project since 2010 and has been responsible for the complete design of the cockpit shell as well as contributing its Baytherm Microcell high-performance insulating material.
Other materials that Bayer MaterialScience contributed include polyurethane rigid foams for the wing tips, motor gondolas and cabin; polycarbonate films for the cabin window; adhesive and coating raw materials that are used in several areas of the plane.