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Cannes Lions: The story behind the solar-powered plane preparing to circle the globe

By John McCarthy | Media editor

FutureBrand

|

Cannes Lions article

June 16, 2014 | 3 min read

Solar Impulse unveiled the creative logic behind its solar powered aircraft, intended to circle the world in 2015, at the Cannes Lions this morning.

The seminar, FutureBrand and Solar Impulse: How Creativity Can Create a Better Future project, featured project leaders Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg. They were interviewed by Christopher Nurko, the global chairman of FutureBrand, as he asked them to describe their journey over the last decade to create the world's first solar-powered aircraft capable of the round-the-world trip.

Piccard and Borschberg said they wanted to push the boundaries of alternative energy with a plane that could remain airborne indefinitely, fuelled only by solar power which would release no emissions.

The Solar Impulse 2 in flight

Showing off the carbon-fibre plane which has a wingspan wider than a Boeing 747 jet but weighs a mere 2.3 tonnes, the speakers expressed an intent to encourage and inspire people to become pioneers and explorers to invent a brighter future.

Piccard said: “If you want to make something impossible happen, you have to look outside the system.”

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Borschberg said an energy efficient plane is an obvious idea but required an innovative approach: “We have all the ideas we need. We just need to break out of our old ways of thinking."

The Solar Impulse team is comprised of about 90 people, including 30 engineers, 25 technicians and 22 mission controllers.

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