What’s On previews the world record bid of Solar Impulse, which will depart Abu Dhabi in 2015 and fly around the world powered by the sun.

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The UAE is set to host the opening phase of a record-breaking solar powered flight around the world.

The historic journey will see the Solar Impulse (Si2), a small two-seater plane, navigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, who last year became the first pilots to fly across the United States in a similar aircraft, will take turns at the controls of this more ambitious adventure.

Featuring a 72-meter wingspan and powered completely by clean, renewable energy, the plane will operate at over 90 per cent efficiency.

Landing in the capital ahead of the World Future Energy Summit in January, it will be showcased in the emirate as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. Running from January 17 to 24, the public will be able to view the plane and meet the pilots.

“It’s fitting that we’re departing from Abu Dhabi,” said Si2 pilot Piccard, “as the emirate is a true energy leader committed to realising a cleaner tomorrow.”

Scheduled to take off from the capital in March 2015, the trip is expected to take 25 days and will see Piccard and Borschberg make stops in Asia, the US, Southern Europe and North Africa before returning to Abu Dhabi in July.

“We couldn’t have wished for a better host city in Abu Dhabi, given its location, state of the art facilities and the fantastic support we’ve received so far,” added Borschberg.

“The departure of Solar Impulse – and its journey around the world – is a historic event that Abu Dhabi will play an important role in,” added Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chairman of Masdar. Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, is an official host partner of Si2.

To find out more about the project visit: solarimpulse.com