The ultimate sustainable journey: a zero fuel transatlantic crossing

ABB & Solar Impulse join forces to show the potential for sustainable transport

As pilot Bertrand Piccard waved goodbye to the Statue of Liberty, the next phase of the Solar Impulse adventure began. André Borschberg, watching the progress from the Mission Control Center in Monaco, offered him some heartfelt words of encouragement, advising Piccard to enjoy every minute of this historic journey, which harks back to the groundbreaking Atlantic crossings of aviation pioneers such as Charles Lindbergh, but this time with no fuel.


The Atlantic Crossing, the last ocean flight of the Solar Impulse around-the-world attempt represents one of the most difficult so far. Before take-off the duration was estimated at between four and five days, such is the complication of accurately predicting the winds and weather fronts encountered along the route. Even the final destination, Seville in the South of Spain, was only decided in the last couple of days, and it is an ideal staging post for a crossing of Europe, probably over the Mediterranean before Greece, and then onwards towards the final destination, Abu Dhabi.

With an engine efficiency estimated at over 90% (combustion engines, by comparison, are around 30% efficient), Solar Impulse is an ambassador for the potential for sustainable transport. On the ground, ABB is contributing to the field of sustainable transport in all its forms, from electric chargers for private vehicles and public transport, rail and marine. Once Solar Impulse arrives in Europe, we will look at all of these different aspects in more detail, as the plane makes its way across the continent, towards its final destination of Abu Dhabi.


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About the author

Conor Lennon

Formerly a broadcaster and communications consultant, I am currently based in Zurich as Global Special Projects Manager for ABB. I like to write about issues surrounding technology, sustainable development and society.
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