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Bertrand Piccard is the initiator and visionary behind Solar Impulse, the very first airplane capable of flying perpetually. Even more than attempting flying around the world without fuel, his ambition is to leverage the spirit of exploration for a useful contribution to the cause of renewable energies. This is why he spent the last 15 years bringing together the major partners providing technology and funds for this adventure. Together with his wife Michèle, he conceived the Solar Impulse project as a now widely recognized platform to raise public awareness and encourage political actions in favor of clean technologies.

Nearly a decade and a half ago, Bertrand was among the firsts to advocate ecology through the lens of profitability, to show the economic opportunities lying in the fight against climate change. "Clean technologies should serve the environmental challenges of our time." Solar Impulse was built to carry this message.Taking turns at the controls of the airplane with his partner André Borschberg for the first ever round-the-world solar flight, successfully achieved in July 2016, Bertrand demonstrated that renewable energy and energy efficiency could achieve incredible goals – reinforcing that it will be easier to protect the environment with a broader use of modern clean technologies, than by fighting against societal trends in mobility, comfort and growth. Thanks to this zero-emission airplane of unlimited endurance, he has become a convincing ambassador, regularly invited to express his vision at major international conferences on innovation, energy, environment and technology.

Bertrand’s conviction and strength of experiences mobilized a large scope of partners to support Solar Impulse, despite the skepticism of the aviation industry. While André Borschberg took on the mission to design and build this revolutionary prototype, Bertrand brought on board more than 60 corporations, institutions and individuals that provided the technologies and the $170 million needed for the project. These industry leaders recognized in Bertrand’s vanguard philosophy a relevant opportunity to stimulate their innovation processes and promote the modern solutions society needs for a sustainable future.

The solar airplane may seem like the focal point, but beyond the aeronautical dimension, Bertrand's overriding aim is to encourage our society to manage the challenges of our time with the spirit of a pioneer.

 

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