Swiss aviator and adventurer Bertrand Piccard has unveiled plans to circumnavigate the world in a hydrogen-powered aircraft. The plan was announced on February 7, 2024.
Piccard made headlines in 2016 when, together with fellow aviation entrepreneur André Borschberg, he completed an around-the-world flight in a solar-powered aircraft called “Solar Impulse 2”. That 22,915 nm journey (42,438 km) took 16 months to complete and involved 17 stages.
Talking to Swiss media, Piccard explained that his new project is called “Climate Impulse”. The new attempt to fly around the globe will take place in 2028 and is reportedly an attempt to stimulate the world into taking action against climate change.
According to reports, the cost of building an ad-hoc experimental aircraft for this purpose is estimated to be around CHF45 million (US$51.6 million) plus an additional CHF15 million (US$ 17.1 million) to operate. Piccard and his team have already been working on this project for three years.
No details are known about the aircraft Piccard aims to use.
In 2023, the Swiss pilot was linked to Euro Airship, a French startup developing an airship powered by a combination of hydrogen fuel cells and solar panels. Euro Airship was said to also be preparing a global circumnavigation in 2026, with Piccard as one of the crew members. However, it is unclear whether this is the same project that Piccard is now referring to.
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