Solar pioneer Bertrand Piccard wants to do it again. After flying around the world in a solar-powered aircraft (Solar Impulse) seven years ago, the Swiss pilot now plans to circumnavigate the world in 2028. This time he wants to fly a hydrogen-powered aircraft, with the ambitious goal of completing the journey in just nine days.
His new “Climate Impulse” project is not just about a thirst for adventure, he told the Swiss media group Tamedia in an interview on Wednesday. “I’m fed up with all the pessimism and inaction regarding environmental protection. I want to show to all those who see no future that there is hope and that we can take action. The best way to do this is with a spectacular project.”
Piccard pointed out that there is still great resistance and reluctance toward future-oriented technologies. “I want to debunk this misconception. I want to show that we now have everything in our hands to transition away from fossil fuels.”
He added that environmental protection will only become a reality when it is perceived as economically viable and exciting. “Despite the existence of solutions, they are not being utilised to their full potential,” he said.
Work on the new project has been going on for three years. “It costs around CHF45 million ($51.6 million) to build the aircraft and CHF15 million to operate it,” said Piccard.
He will turn 70 years in 2028. He told the paper that his wife believes he will then be too old to inspire young people. But he replied: “Yes, but I will be old enough to give hope to the elderly.”
SOURCE: SWI swissinfo.ch
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