Zurich, Switzerland, April 6, 2014 - ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, announced today it will support Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg in their attempt to fly around the world in a solar powered airplane in 2015.
The first-ever flight through the night with a solar airplane as well as record-breaking missions across Europe, the Mediterranean Sea and the United States brought worldwide attention to Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg with their Solar Impulse endeavor, demonstrating the enormous potential of clean technologies and showing how a pioneering spirit can achieve the impossible.
Now the Solar Impulse team is preparing for the ultimate technological challenge: to circumnavigate the globe in a plane powered only by the sun's energy. On April 9, the team will unveil a new airplane, which will be used to attempt the round-the-world flight in 2015.
"This partnership brings together two Swiss-based global leaders that are passionate about pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation to achieve a better world," said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. "We believe in Bertrand's vision, and we are convinced that by pioneering innovative technologies we will be able to decouple economic growth from energy consumption and environmental impact. Today, ABB is a global leader for solutions to enable energy efficiency, sustainable transportation and renewables and like Solar Impulse we are always challenging the boundaries of what is technologically possible."
"It was my dream to have ABB as technology partner of Solar Impulse," said Bertrand Piccard, initiator and chairman of Solar Impulse. "We have the same goal of improving the world by using energy more efficiently and conserving natural resources."
"Solar Impulse and ABB are technology innovators and pioneers," said Andre Borschberg, Co-Founder and CEO of Solar Impulse. "We both want to motivate people to use clean technologies; ABB and Solar Impulse will work together on key technologies like power electronics for our mutual benefit."
Switzerland-based ABB is a global leader in renewables, sustainable transportation and energy efficiency. The company is the world's second-largest supplier of solar inverters and one of the largest suppliers to the wind-power industry. It is also a leader in integrating renewables efficiently and reliably into power grids. The breakthrough innovation of a high-voltage direct current circuit breaker in 2012 will enable the grid of the future. In March 2014, ABB announced that it would be building the world's largest network of new-generation, fast chargers for electric cars in China. ABB improves energy efficiency across the entire value chain from exploration to consumption. Its installed base of drives for motors alone saved around 400 TWh in electricity in 2013, equivalent to the annual power consumption of 100 million European households.
ABB invested more than $1.5 billion in research and development in 2013 and has 8,500 technologists worldwide.
About Solar Impulse
Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard (Chairman) and André Borschberg (CEO) are the founders, pilots and the driving force behind Solar Impulse, the first airplane that can fly day and night without fuel or polluting emissions. Solar Impulse is a unique adventure that aims to bring emotions back at the heart of scientific exploration, a flying laboratory to find innovative technological solutions for today's challenges and a vision to inspire each of us to be pioneers in our everyday lives.
This revolutionary carbon fibre airplane has the wingspan of a Boeing 747 (63.4m / 208 ft) and the weight of a small car (1,600kg / 3,527 lb). It is the result of seven years of intense work, calculations, simulations and tests by a team of about 80 people and 100 partners and advisors. A plane so big and light has never been built before. The 12,000 solar cells built into the wing provide four 10HP 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.
ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 150,000 people.