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Eye of Riyadh
Environment & Energy | Sunday 30 October, 2016 2:12 pm |

Solar Impulse visionary to provide plenary address at 11th Annual GPCA Forum

André Borschberg, the Chairman and co-pilot of the Solar Impulse Project, the foremost solar airplane that completed a circumnavigation of the world in July 2016, is set to provide the plenary address at the 11th Annual GPCA Forum. Hosted by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), the conference will be held from November 27- 29, 2016, in Dubai.

“The Solar Impulse project represents the very best aspects of innovation across the energy value chain. While the plane’s journey was fully powered by the sun, the design and weight of the plane—dependent on the use of cutting-edge chemical technologies — ensured that the jet plane sized vehicle was as light as a car, and therefore resulted in energy efficiency measures that were unthinkable a decade ago,” said Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary General, GPCA. “Through the development of this project, Borschberg has gathered partners in renewable energy, utilities and the chemical industry to create a truly unique venture that demonstrates that inter-industry collaboration can achieve great things.”

Advanced plastic composite, derivatives of oil and gas, where extensively used in the development of the Solar Impulse project, allowing the plane to be light, agile and durable, explained Dr. Al- Sadoun. The body of the plane was made up of carbon fiber polymer, a cousin of plastic; the insulation materials consisted of polyurethane, while the windows are made from polycarbonate sheets.  Abu Dhabi’s Masdar is one of the major sponsors of the project, reflecting its focus on promoting renewable energy’

“This project encapsulates the GPCA Forum’s theme of ‘Competitiveness: Riding New Waves’ perfectly,” continued Dr. Al-Sadoun. “We are honored to host André Borschberg, and hope that this project will inspire other leaders to engage in innovative projects like this one.”

Commenting on the opportunities and challenges of the project, Borschberg said,Solar Impulse is a demonstration of energy efficiency and smart energy management, similar to a flying smart grid. Initially the aviation industry told us it was impossible to build such an airplane, but we believed we could do it thanks to all our partners’ technologies. The round-the-world solar flight proved that change is possible when we have the right mindset and are not afraid to push the limits. Today, Solar Impulse is more than a demonstration-- it is a confirmation that these technologies are truly dependable and reliable.”

The Annual GPCA Forum will gather local and global leaders across every aspect of the energy industry to discuss, debate and chart strategies that will impact the sector’s future. This year’s conference will commence  with speeches from H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), and Amin H. Nasser, President and Chief Executive Officer of Saudi Aramco.

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