Abu Dhabi to host ABB-supported team attempting solar world record

2014-09-25 - The ABB-supported team planning the first solar-powered flight around the world has announced that it will set off from the United Arab Emirates.
Solar Impulse will move its aircraft from Switzerland to Abu Dhabi later this year in preparation for the round-the-world attempt in 2015. The plane has the wingspan of a Boeing 747 (63.4m / 208 ft) and the weight of a small car (1,600kg / 3,527 lb).

Bertrand Piccard, the initiator and chairman of Solar Impulse, announced the move in New York where the United Nations has been hosting the world’s largest gathering of world leaders focusing on climate change.

He said that Abu Dhabi would be the start and finish of the flight. The Solar Impulse team will be hosted in the UAE for testing and training before the circumnavigation begins.

André Borschberg, CEO of Solar Impulse, said on Twitter that Abu Dhabi was picked “due to state of the art infrastructure and ideal conditions for test flights.”

ABB, the world’s second-largest supplier of solar inverters and one of the largest suppliers to the wind-power industry, formed a technology alliance with Solar Impulse earlier this year.

The Solar Impulse airplane has 12,000 solar cells built into the wing, providing four 10 HP electric motors with renewable energy. By day the solar cells recharge the 400kg / 881 lb lithium batteries which allow the plane to fly at night.

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