History will be made when the first transcontinental airplane flight made with zero liquid fuel takes place this spring. The solar-powered plane called the Solar Impulse will travel from San Francisco to New York using 11,628 photovoltaic cells, several lithium polymer batteries and four 10 horsepower electric engines. The plane’s wingspan is the size of a Boeing 747, it weighs about as much as a car and has as much power as an average scooter.

The idea for Solar Impulse was born in 1999 when Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones circumnavigated the globe in a balloon – a mission that almost failed due to fuel supply constraints. The incident motivated Piccard to circle the Earth again, but this time without fuel, a goal that hit a major milestone last year when Bertrand and Co-founder Andre Borschberg flew the plane from Switzerland to Morocco and back in the first fully-solar powered intercontinental flight. Keep reading →