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Most Innovative Companies

Solar Impulse

The World's Most Innovative Companies 2016To promote clean technologies, the Swiss adventurers behind the Solar Impulse long-range solar-powered aircraft project are leading by example. In 2015, they set out to circumnavigate the globe in their Solar Impulse 2, a two-ton airplane that harnesses the sun's energy to power its lithium-ion batteries to stay aloft. It is the first plane to be able to fly day and night without the use of any fossil fuels. On the leg from Japan to Hawaii, pilot Andre Borschbert spent 118 hours in the air, a record for a manned solar-powered flight. But the goal isn't to develop a solar passenger jet. Instead, Borschbert and his partner Bertrand Piccard are using the plane as a symbol for the power of clean technology. They want to change the narrative to focus not on the insurmountable challenges posed by climate change, but on the opportunities for profit and job creation. The round-the-world trip is set to resume in April, assuming the project gets another $30 million in funding.
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2016: Energy
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