Solar Impulse 2 aircraft clean tech for a sustainable future

Solar Impulse 2 aircraft is built to navigate the world solely powered by the sun, eliminating the need for fossil fuel. Its ultra-light weight optimises use of solar energy.

Solar Impulse 2 Nanjing
Bertrand Piccard manning Solar Impulse 2 aircraft. Flight 6 to Nanjing

Superior insulation copes with extreme on ground and in the air temperature differences. Bayer MaterialScience has been a partner since 2010, developing tailored plastics and hi-tech materials for Si1 and Si2, and hosted a hospitality day at Nanjing Lukou International Airport.

Richard Northcote, Member of the Executive Committee and Global Head of Sustainability at Bayer MaterialScience says the aim was to provide sustainable materials and solutions that benefit all involved. The company is developing solutions to foster clean technologies for a sustainable future. Solar Impulse looks to turn that vision into reality.

Baytherm Microcell for aircraft door improves insulating performance by about a tenth over current standard. Outside the cockpit, material is used to insulate batteries. Cockpit shell uses a rigid polyurethane foam. Polyurethane/carbon fibre composite material is used in door locks. Transparent polycarbonate thin sheets for the window and raw materials for silvery coating covering large portions of the aircraft.

Solar Impulse 2 aircraft weighs 2.3 tones and can endure temperature fluctuations between minus 40 degrees Celsius at night and plus 40 degrees at daytime. The 72 metre wingspan (larger than Boeing 747) uses 17,200 solar cells.

Dr Christian Haessler, Head of Polymer Research and Development Center, Bayer MaterialScience Innovation APAC says Solar Impulse acts as a platform to test high-performance materials and develop more potential applications, which could include lightweight parts in cars for reduced fuel consumption.