Tech & Science

Zero-Fuel Solar Impulse to Complete Round-the-World Flight

solar impulse andre Borschberg atlantic
Solar Impulse is flying around the world using solar energy alone in an effort to promote clean technologies. It is due to complete its quest after over a year of flying landing for the final time in Abu Dhabi on Monday evening. Solar Impulse

The first plane to circumnavigate the globe using only the sun’s energy is set to touch down on the final leg of its trip on Monday.

Solar Impulse 2 took off from Cairo International airport on Saturday, July 23, and is due to land in Abu Dhabi on Monday evening, having set off from the United Arab Emirates capital in March 2015.

The 17th and final leg of the journey was delayed as a result of a heatwave over the Middle East, which threatened to damage onboard electronics.

“The heatwave over the Middle East has challenged the Solar Impulse team, almost more than the crossing of the Pacific or Atlantic to everyone’s astonishment,” a spokesperson for the Solar Impulse team tells Newsweek.

 

 

The Swiss team flying the aircraft is aiming to use the trip to promote clean energies, demonstrating the capabilities of solar power.

The airplane houses more than 17,000 solar cells in its wings and stores power in batteries onboard to allow it to fly at night.

“The aviation industry told us it was impossible to build an airplane that could fly day and night without a drop of fuel,” pilot Andre Borschberg wrote in a recent piece for Newsweek. “In 2015, Solar Impulse proved that it could be done, and together with [last month’s] transatlantic flight, we proved that change is possible when we have the right mindset and are not afraid to push back our own limits.”

A live Q&A with co-pilot Bertrand Piccard will be hosted on Newsweek’s Facebook page at 18.30pm (BST) on Monday.