Technology is growing and changing at a rapid pace. The advancements that we have seen over just the past 10-20 years are astounding! The first solar family car was built in 2013 by students in the Netherlands. That vehicle was capable of 550 miles on one charge during sunlight. Solar buses are now being powered by solar energy, all or part of which is collected from stationary solar panel installations. Solar powered boats have mainly been limited to rivers and canals, but in 2007 an experimental 14m catamaran, the Sun21 sailed the Atlantic from Seville to Miami, and from there to New York. It was the first crossing of the Atlantic powered only by solar.
If solar technology exists and is being used on land and sea, are we to believe that it is possible for solar aviation to exist? The answer is an astounding YES! André Borschberg, Swiss entrepreneur, pilot and co-founder of Solar Impulse, has collected a team of former CFOs, world champions, and professional airplane and helicopter pilots, and together they have created a breakthrough in air travel. The Solar Impulse 2, a groundbreaking invention in the field of aviation, ran on solar electricity for five days and nights over the Pacific until it landed in Abu Dhabi last year, to complete the cycle of its charted journey. The belief that there is a need to find an alternative to fossil fuels has fueled this company’s passion to find a way to provide a means to clean and green air travel. They want to help with reducing the strain on the earth and it’s resources.
How many aircrafts do you think fly each day? There are roughly 100,000 scheduled flights worldwide each day. If we break that down into fuel usage, a 747 uses 1 gallon of fuel every second. That is a lot of fuel being used. That is a lot of pollutants put into the atmosphere each day. That is a lot of wasted resources and damage done to our precious environment EACH DAY! The future of clean energy is now. Now is the time to work on finding alternatives for what we use to transport us from one place to the next. We all need to start doing our part to go green and reduce our carbon footprints. Electric propulsion will be sustainable and cost-effective as producing the fuel will be less costly than opting for traditional fuel.
Solar Impulse is just one company that is fighting for our planet and finding alternatives to what we all have become to believe is the way that things are and will forever be. Armed with a motto to make air transport cleaner, quieter, safer and more affordable. Their hashtag #futureisclean defines their goals. Since the completion of there round the world trip, they are armed with a plan to take electric propulsion technology a step further. They believe that the future is now, and that “what is science fiction today will be the reality of tomorrow.”