Today, more than 300 New York City elementary, middle- and high-school students joined Covestro and Swiss Consulate representatives at JFK International Airport to welcome the history-making Solar Impulse airplane (Si2)—and the clean-tech pioneers who conceived it—to New York. The plane flew into NYC on Saturday, marking the final U.S. stop in the first solar-powered flight around the world.
“Science Day at JFK” wasco-hosted by Covestro as part of its i3 (ignite, imagine, innovate) STEM initiative and the Swiss Consulate, in collaboration with United Nations Environment Programme and the New York City Department of Education. The event provided a unique educational platform for Solar Impulse co-founders and pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, who shared their scientific adventures firsthand with students from six schools across all five NYC boroughs. Represented at the event were Ditmas Intermediate School 62 and Brooklyn Science and Engineering Academy (Brooklyn), United Nations International School (Manhattan), Aviation High School JFK Annex (Queens), Tottenville High School (Staten Island) and Baychester Academy (Bronx).
The students experiencedthe excitement of the record-breaking expedition, engaging in an interactive discussion with the pilots, exploring the plane up close and learning more about the high-tech materials used on board from ground crew members, like PaigeKassalen. Kassalen is Covestro’s 23-year-old electrical engineer who has been part of the Solar Impulse journey since it left Hawaii on April 21 for Moffett Airfield in California. She is the first and only American female engineer onthe team.
Students from Ditmas IS who are sustainability leaders in their school also participated in hands-onscience demonstrations led by Covestro i3 STEM volunteers.
Covestro, a leading polymer materials supplier, has been a Solar Impulse partner since 2010. Its advanced technologies played a large role in transforming Solar Impulse from avision to a reality, helping to create a lightweight and energy-efficient planethat can fly day and night without fuel.
“The achievement of Si2highlights the enormous promise of clean technologies that we hope will unleashthe potential of today’s students as the clean-tech pioneers of tomorrow,” said Richard Northcote, Chief Sustainability Officer, Covestro. “Solar Impulseembodies Covestro’s commitment to sustainability and advancing STEM education.‘Science Day at JFK’ was an opportunity to bring it all together in a fun andexciting way, with the hope of inspiring a cleaner, brighter future.”
About Covestro, LLC:
Covestro, LLC is one ofthe leading producers of high-performance polymers in North America and is part of the global Covestro business with 2015 sales of EUR 12.1 billion. Covestro manufactures high-tech polymer materials and develops innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction, medical and sports and leisure industries. The Covestro group has 30 production sites around the globe and employed approximately 15,800 people at the end of 2015.
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About Solar Impulse:
Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard – Initiator and Chairman – and André Borschberg – CEO and Co-Founder – are the pilots and driving force behind Solar Impulse, the first airplane able to fly day and night without a drop of fuel – propelled solely by the sun’s energy. Supported by Main Partners Solvay, Omega, Schindler, ABB, Official Partners Google, Altran, Covestro, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Swisscom and Moët Hennessy, and Host Partners, Masdar in Abu Dhabi and Foundation Prince Albert II in Monaco, they are attempting the first Round-The-World Solar Flightwith Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) – demonstrating that clean technologies can achieve the impossible.
Si2 is a concentration of clean technologies – a genuine flying laboratory. It is a single-seateraircraft made of carbon fiber that has a 72 m / 236 ft wingspan (larger than a Boeing 747) for a weight of 2,300 kg / 5,100 lb (the equivalent of an empty family car). The 17,248 solar cells built into the wing power the four batteries (38.5 kWh per battery) that in turn power the four electric engines (13.5 kW /17.5 hp each) and the propellers with renewable energy. The plane is therefore capable of saving a maximum amount of energy during the day and flying throughout the night on batteries. Si2 requires zero fuel and has virtually unlimited autonomy: theoretically, Si2 could fly forever and is only limited by the pilot’s sustainability.
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