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Abdullah bin Zayed attends announcement of Abu Dhabi as host city for first round-the-world solar flight

posted on 26/09/2014: 2296 views

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, has attended the announcement that Abu Dhabi will host the start and finish of the first solar-powered flight around the world, in March 2015, led by co-founders and pilots, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, on Solar Impulse 2.

The announcement was made in New York during a U.A.E. reception which was held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, and was also attended by Didier Burkhalter, President of the Swiss Confederation.

Masdar, Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company, the host partner of Solar Impulse, will host the team for two months from January as they prepare testing and training for the flight.

A spokesperson from Masdar said that the company has been tasked by the U.A.E. government to invest in and advance renewable energy and clean technology industry both domestically and internationally.

Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, U.A.E. Minister of State and CEO of Masdar, said, "Abu Dhabi, Masdar and Solar Impulse have in common a pioneering spirit, a long-term vision and a desire to explore new horizons. We share a commitment to foster the development of technological advances in alternative energy sources in order to contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable future." The arrival of Solar Impulse 2 in Abu Dhabi will act as a local and regional catalyst and leave a lasting legacy, inspiring Emirati youth to take an interest in aeronautics, science, clean technology and renewable energy. During Solar Impulse 2's stay, school visits and educational workshops will be held, during which students and others will be able to learn about the cutting-edge technologies designed to make the round-the-world flight possible.

The choice of Abu Dhabi to host the start and end of the history-making flight reinforces the emirate's status as a pioneer in solar energy innovation and as a global leader in the drive to develop and deploy effective clean energy solutions that meet the needs of people, while at the same time minimising long-term effects on the planet.

The relationship between Masdar and Solar Impulse, which began in 2003, stems from a shared perspective between the U.A.E.'s leadership and the Solar Impulse founders, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, to promote greater technological innovation as well as help encourage other nations and organisations to embrace cleaner and more efficient technologies.

"This well-matched partnership will showcase Abu Dhabi as a centre of expertise when it comes to renewable energy and at the same time Solar Impulse will demonstrate the far-reaching applications of clean energy during the first solar-powered flight around the world," said Bertrand Piccard.

Andre Borschberg added, "We have chosen this location as being the best and most suitable departure and return point for the round-the-world tour, due to its climate, infrastructure and commitment to clean technologies." The round-the-world tour is expected to take 25 flying days over 4 or 5 months. Solar Impulse is currently finalising the stages after Abu Dhabi, and looks to make stopovers in Asia, the U.S., Southern Europe and North Africa, before returning to Abu Dhabi in July 2015. Some flights over the Pacific and the Atlantic will last 5 to 6 days, a feat made possible by Solar Impulse 2's ability to fly without fuel.

On its circumnavigation of the globe, Swiss pilots and co-founders of the project, Dr. Bertrand Piccard and Borschberg, will take turns flying the aircraft, which completed its first test flight in June. They'll have six oxygen bottles, a parachute, a life raft, and food and water for a week. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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