The new Solar Impulse has been developed using Solvay products such as lightweight plastics, battery components, lubricants, insulation and solar panel film coatings.

Solar Impulse’s long wingspan accommodates more than 10,000 solar panels that cover the wings’ surface. These photovoltaic cells capture the solar energy that turns its propellers, allowing the aircraft to fly.

In addition, the aircraft employs Solvay’s PVDF and ECTFE polymers for ultra-thin single layer films, laminated films, and adhesives in order to lower the impact of stressors, deformations, temperature variations and solar radiation that occur when flying.

Commenting on the development, Solvay Specialty Polymers Research, Development and Technology head George Corbin said that the company has been sponsoring the development for sun-powered aircraft since its inception in 2004.

The Solar Impulse "Across America" mission begins on or about 1 May 2013, weather permitting. It will fly across the US.