Web Exclusive | March 2015
Solar Impulse touched down in Ahmedabad for a four day layover
Solar Impulse - 2 a solar power aircraft, landed at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on March 10 at 11:25 pm.
The world’s first solar powered aircraft, began its trip on March 9th from Abu Dhabi, landing in Muscat the same day and will attempt a round the world tour ending by late July or early August 2015.
The 2,300kg Swiss long range aircraft, which will only use the solar energy it harnesses as fuel for its flight will have two stops in India. After a layover of four days in Ahmedabad, where several events are planned on the theme of renewable energy and sustainable development, the plane will fly towards the holy city of Varanasi.
The aircraft is expected to land at around 7 pm on March 15 at Varanasi's Lal Bahadur Shastri airport, taking off the next day at 7 am. It is being speculated that the aircraft may fly over the Ganga to highlight the ‘clean ganga campaign,’and then move to Mandalay in Myanmar.
Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg are both the pilots as well as the founders of the project that has Solvay, Omega, Schindler and ABB as the main partners.
India and Green Connect
Talking about its association with the project, Antony Parokaran, CEO, Schindler India says,” A team of Schindler engineers are working with the Solar Impulse teams to develop components used in Solar Impulse. We have shared our knowledge and experience and are also financially supporting the project.”
“It is our belief that the cutting edge technologies developed in this project will give a huge boost in developing alternate clean energy from renewable sources. The development of lighter materials and more reliable components will benefit us in developing more energy efficient elevators.”
He also elaborated on the importance of the technology used in the flight with respect to India ”With the rapid urbanization in India and the government’s intention to built 100 smart cities, we need new technologies which support clean energy and sustainable mobility. We believe that our partnership with Solar Impulse will help us to meet these expectations. The project will also improve the awareness and demonstrate on what is possible with energy harnessed from renewable sources”
According to the founders of the project, the flight is the best way to demonstrate the importance of the pioneering, innovatory spirit than by achieving “impossible” things with renewable energy and highlighting new solutions for environmental problems
The plane will be hosted by the Aditya Birla Group during its layover in the country.
More about Solar Impulse
The revolutionary single-seater aircraft made of carbon fiber has a 72 m wingspan (larger than that of the Boeing 747-8I). The 17,000 solar cells built into the wing supply four electric motors (17.5 CV each) with renewable energy.
During the day, the solar cells recharge lithium batteries weighing 633 Kg (2077 lbs.) which allow the aircraft to fly at night and therefore to have virtually unlimited autonomy.