Genesis Morocco: Solar Impulse Flight Arrives in Morocco

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Genesis Morocco

Project Genesis is a strategic sustainable development framework for Morocco to translate from being a net importer of energy and a country facing water shortage issues, into the number one producer both of clean renewable energy and water in the region.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012    <<Home

Solar Impulse Flight Arrives in Morocco

Personal Notes: Transportation, especially the modern phenomenon of air transportation, has always been a major energy consumer. It was only a matter of time before forward-thinking scientists and industry pioneers tried to capitalize on this consumption by using renewable energy technology. The solar impulse flight is a huge step forward in this regard, proving that indeed solar-power flight is possible, and that it can overcome some of the many obstacles facing such technologies such as flying at night. The next step will be improving and expanding such applications until flight powered by renewable energy is economically, as well as technically, feasible.


updated 6/5/2012 9:12:40 PM
A solar energy plane landed in Morocco on Tuesday, completing the world's first intercontinental flight powered by the sun to show the potential for pollution-free air travel.

  The Solar Impulse took off from Madrid at 0322 GMT Tuesday (11:22 p.m. ET Monday) and landed at Rabat's international airport after a 19-hour flight.

Shortly before Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard landed in Rabat's airport, the project's co-founder and pilot, Andre Borschberg, said the aircraft has proved its sustainability. "The aircraft can now fly day and night. It's quite a show ... It's a technology we can trust," he told reporters.

Pilot Piccard descended from the plane, smiling as he was greeted by Borshberg and Mustafa Bakkoury, the head of Morocco's solar energy agency.

The Solar Impulse project began in 2003 with a 10-year budget of 90 million euros ($112.18 million) and has involved engineers from Schindler, the Swiss elevator manufacturer, as well as research aid from Belgian chemical group Solvay.

On Tuesday, the aircraft crossed the Gibraltar Strait separating Africa and Europe at one of its narrowest points. The flight is crucial for the project's developers because it would help improve the organization of a world tour planned in 2013.

The plane, which requires 12,000 solar cells, embarked on its first flight in April 2010 and completed a 26-hour flight, a record flying time for a solar-powered aircraft, three months later.
It made its first international flight last month when it completed a 13-hour trip from the western Swiss town of Payern to Brussels.

With an average flying speed of 44 mph (70 kilometers per hour), Solar Impulse is not an immediate threat to commercial jets, which can easily cruise at more than 10 times the speed. The typical commercial jet can make the flight from Madrid to Rabat in a little more than an hour.
Project leaders acknowledged it had been a major challenge to fit a slow-flying plane into the commercial air traffic system.

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