“We need to embrace clean technologies, not because they are eco-logical,” but because they are logical”. This is the vision of the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions, launched by the Solar Impulse Foundation, based on its founder Bertrand Piccard’s belief that clean technologies can accomplish impossible goals.
With a bold vision so much aligned with its own, the Belgian chemical company Solvay has announced that it will be among the first to sign on as an Alliance member. “Solvay’s joining of the Alliance naturally flows from our 13-year partnership with Solar Impulse, for which we established a track record in providing a variety of advanced materials and efficient technologies essential to the plane’s success,” explains CEO Jean-Pierre Clamadieu. “This Alliance of start-ups, companies and organizations will again demonstrate how collaboration and open innovation, based on shared convictions, will turn visions into daily applications for a more sustainable planet and growth.”
“The fact that – as part of this Alliance – we will be part of an ecosystem of startups and inventors is exciting because we, as Solvay, have the possibility to transform their ideas and projects into reality based on our experience, capacity and success in industrialization. When it comes to energy, sustainability and mobility, we have market access; we know the customers,” adds Nicolas Cudre Mauroux, Head of Corporate Research & Innovation.
By combining the forces of governments, corporations, and international institutions, the Alliance will facilitate their ability to share experiences and create synergies in order to develop and implement concrete solutions to reach environmental and health targets.
“When Bertrand proposed to our Group in 2003 to take part in the Solar Impulse adventure, we knew it would be a real challenge for our research and a good opportunity to innovate, using Solar Impulse as a flying lab. Being part of this Alliance is a natural extension, enabling us to bring all of our existing solutions for clean technologies with an aim to expand their usage in other fields, while proposing and testing new promising innovations still in development,” says Jean-Pierre Clamadieu.
On Tuesday 5 September in Brussels, to celebrate Solvay’s alliance with the Alliance, Solar Impulse and Solvay screened a documentary film about the Round the World flight and led a discussion with Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Bertrand Piccard and Jean-Pierre Clamadieu.
“Science at the time of Ernest Solvay was about one-man shows. For example, Einstein wrote numerous papers between 1911 and 1915,” explained Commissioner Moedas. “But the change came when Ernest Solvay, with his Conference, put everyone together, talking to each other. That was the point when creating change became about collaboration and working together.”
“Flying across the Atlantic, I thought to myself, ‘this is unreal. I’m in a science fiction story. I’m in the future’. And then I thought, ‘No. I’m in the present, in what the technologies of the world today allow, and the rest of the world is in the past.’ And this is what we have to change. We need to bring the rest of the world into the present”, added Bertrand Piccard.