Solar Impulse, a solar-powered airplane, is to attempt its longest flight. The aircraft is a project being undertaken at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, by Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberguses. It uses technical expertise, high-tech polymer materials and energy-saving lightweight materials from Bayer MaterialScience.
The testing 48-hour journey of over 2,500 km, which will start in Switzerland, cross the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean and end in Morocco, follows successful test flights including Solar Impulse’s first international flight, from Switzerland to France and Belgium, in 2011.
The trip will coincide with the start of work in Morocco’s Ouarzazate region to construct the largest solar power plant ever built. The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) is leading the implementation of the integrated Moroccan Solar Plan, which aims at developing a minimum power capacity of 2,000 MW by 2020.
In May 2011, Dii (launched as “Desertec Industrial Initiative”; a private industry consortium) and MASEN signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of a large solar project in Morocco. The specificity of this first Dii Reference Project is to demonstrate the export feasibility of solar generated electricity in the deserts to Europe, using existing lines between Spain and Morocco.