One of the things I have stated repeatedly is that even as I see the world moving to solar power by necessity, we will always need liquid fuels for long-haul transport and airline travel. Turns out I may have been wrong about the airline travel bit:
The Solar Impulse project has been broken down in stages to allow for adequate testing and technological advancement. The initial planning stages began in 2003. 2007 and 2008 should see the production of a prototype(s) for testing and the first overnight flights. Then larger prototypes will be introduced in 2009-2010 for longer test flights. The final stage should occur in 2010, when the flight around the world is expected to finally be possible.
Yahoo! News provides video coverage:
Amazing. This shifted my paradigm on air travel, which to date has always been that it would require liquid fuels. Of course as is normally the case with new technology, there are caveats. Right now it is still at the simulator stage, and while the stated intent is to eventually be able to fly 300 passengers, per the video this will require “new technologies.” A very interesting story, regardless.