Expected to start flights with electric airplanes in 10 years

Airplanes can carry up to 50 passengers in short routes like Mexico City-Cancún
Photo: Alejandra Leyva/EL UNIVERSAL
Sara Cantera
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In 10 years there will be short commercial flights by electric airplanes, assured Bertrand Piccard, founder and CEO of Solar Impulse.

Piccard was the first person to travel around the world in an aerostatic balloon in 1999 and in 2016 concluded his first Earth revolution in the Solar Impulse II plane, powered solely by solar energy.

Airbus, NASA, Boeing and other companies are working on electric mobility. Not for intercontinental flights yet, but for 310 to 620 miles flights. The electric airplane will recharge its batteries on land, not in the sky with solar light like the Solar Impulse,” he said.

Piccard remarked that clean energy investments do generate profit, so companies should be more interested in this kind of projects because governments consider them costly.

“When you fly more than 6.200 miles in a commercial airplane with 400 passengers, you have no other solution to replace fuel, but in a car, for instance, three-quarters of the gasoline are lost due to the motor's inefficiency and an electric car is 97% efficient, it only wastes 3% of the energy,” he stated.

Piccard also presented his new project called World Alliance for Clean Technologies, which aims to create a platform for smaller projects and from unknown people.

In the COP23 will be presented the first list with a thousand projects, all approved by external and international specialists.

Pierre Comptdaer, ABB México's CEO, a company dedicated to the management of energy and the development of clean technology, said that three engineers from the firm joined the Solar Impulse team to enhance control systems for land operations, to improve electronic recharge for the battery system of the plane, and to solve the obstacles encountered during the route.

ABB built a photovoltaic power station in San Luis Potosí state, with a capacity of 1,2 MW and also designs and installs quick recharge stations for electric vehicles and electric public transportation in Mexico.


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