BCI: Where did the Solar Stratos idea come from and would you please tell us about this plane?
RD: The idea was born when I crossed the pacific ocean aboard PlanetSolar, I was wondering what I could do once our successful adventure was more ambitious than the first round the world with solar energy. At night in the middle of the South Pacific, the Milky Way is bright and every minute a shooting star passes over your head. This is where the idea of trying to reach the stratosphere with solar energy was born. Making the I care dream come true 4000 years later
What are the key steps to initiate a startup like SolarStratos?
Find the idea Carry out a feasibility study Bring together a team and skills Find the financial means and technical partners Succeed You are trying to achieve something that has not been done before. What is the main disruptor you have encountered so far? The goal is to achieve something that has never been attempted, but with existing technologies. At this stage, we have not yet really made a break or disruptor in our adventure. But we learn a lot every day.
Did the COVID-19 pandemic have any effect on this project?
The Covid19 made our life more difficult of course, but we are explorers, and we try to use this difficulty as an advantage. It seems you are very dedicated to using renewable energy in your projects.
Why is it important to use solar power rather than fossil fuels globally?
We are currently burning 300 tonnes of fossil fuel per second. First of all, it is not sustainable and also dangerous for our climate. We want to show that we can achieve incredible things thanks to renewable energies and electricity Technically speaking, there are some formidable concerns about high-altitude solar-powered aircraft, such as that their aerostructures become very fragile due to high power/weight requirements.
What would be your technical team’s modern approach vis-a-vis those challenges different from legacy work?
We want to fly at high altitudes with a light aircraft, which must consume little energy and therefore fly slowly. We think outside the box and learn with my team and our technical partners every day how to solve complex problems. It’s exciting.