Two large companies heavily involved in the solar industry, ABB a world leading producer of solar inverters and Solar Impulse have teamed up to circumnavigate the globe in a plane running on solar energy alone.
In March 2015 3 Engineers from ABB will join the Solar Impulse team in Abu Dhabi as the plane is getting ready to launch. ABB aim to provide their expertise to maximise efficiency and power output of the project, being on hand to help resolve any problems that might arise.
The flight is going to go around the world with only the energy of the sun to power it, powered by 17,248 solar cells which have been fitted throughout the craft. The total distance will be 40,000 kilometres.
The pilots of this flight have gone through a lot of vigorous training in order to prepare for this, although this flight will be powered by the sun, it will not be unmanned. The story of the pilots looks to be an interesting one as due to the weight restrictions of the plane only one of the two pilots are able to sit in the cockpit at a time, swapping out after a five day piloting session. But that’s not the most interesting part; while the plane is airborne the pilots are only allowed 20 minutes of sleep at one time, to combat this the pilots have been learning to meditate as a viable means of sustaining themselves throughout the journey.
The flight will be monitored on the ground at all times of course, all the relevant recordings will be checked and re-checked, a lot of the information will be regarding the welfare of the pilots and how the plane is doing, whether it can absorb enough sunlight each day, whether it utilises the power efficiently, and what improvements can be made in the future.