Switzerland-based ABB and Solar Impulse have formed a technology alliance for the first solar-powered aeroplane that can fly day and night without fuel or polluting emissions.
The 12,000 solar cells built into the wing will provide four 10HP electric motors with renewable energy. During day time, these solar cells recharge the 400kg / 881lb lithium batteries, which allow the revolutionary carbon fibre airplane to fly at night.
Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg are the founders and the driving force behind Solar Impulse. Borschberg is CEO and Piccard is chairman of Solar Impulse.
Piccard and Borschberg have already demonstrated the first flight through the night with a solar airplane, with record-breaking missions across Europe, the Mediterranean Sea and the US.
The Solar Impulse team is now preparing to circumnavigate the globe in the solar-powered plane. ABB will support Piccard and Borschberg in their attempt to fly around the world in the solar-powered airplane in 2015.
ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer said that 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.
"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," Spiesshofer said.
"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."
Solar Impulse will unveil the new aeroplane on 9 April. The plane has a wingspan of 208ft and the weight of 3,527lb.