| June 13, 2013

Watt does it take to build a solar airplane?

Press conference June 18, 10 a.m.

Chemistry, of course! At a National Press Club Newsmaker news conference on Tuesday, June 18. Research and development experts from chemical company Solvay will explain the science, and vision, behind the airplane Solar Impulse. Solvay was the first and main partner of Solar Impulse, the ultra-lightweight aircraft powered only by solar energy.


  • George Corbin, Ph.D., Head of R&D and Technology for Solvay Specialty Polymers
  • Claude Michel, Ph.D., Head of Solvay Solar Impulse Partnership
  • Darcy Gentleman, Ph.D. chemist and science communicator, American Chemical Society

After causing a UFO scare in Texas earlier this month and narrowly avoiding Tornado Alley in recent weeks, Solar Impulse will arrive at Dulles International Airport on Sunday, June 16, on the fifth leg of its “Across America” coast-to-coast flight. The plane will be parked at a temporary hangar adjoining the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.

Reporters will be invited to the hangar to see the plane up close and meet the pilots at an early evening event sponsored by Solvay. Dinner will be served aside the Space Shuttle Discovery, which is on display in the Udvar-Hazy Center.

This National Press Club Newsmakers news conference is scheduled for 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, June 18, in the Club’s Murrow Room on the 13th Floor of the National Press Building, 529 14th St, NW, Washington, DC, 20045.

You can watch the event live by logging on to:  http://www.visualwebcaster.com/Solar-Airplane

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.


SOLVAY SILICA, a global business unit of the Solvay group, is the inventor and leading global   provider of highly dispersible silica, which finds its main application in the production of energy-saving tires. Silica is also used in a wide range of other key markets such as industrial applications, personal care and nutrition.

As an international chemical group, SOLVAY assists industry in finding and implementing ever more responsible and value-creating solutions. The Group is firmly committed to sustainable development and focused on innovation and operational excellence. Solvay serves diversified markets, generating 90% of its turnover in activities where it is one of the top three worldwide. The group is headquartered in Brussels, employs about 29,000 people in 55 countries and generated 12.4 billion euros in net sales in 2012. Solvay SA (SOLB.BE) is listed on NYSE Euronext in Brussels and Paris (Bloomberg: SOLB.BB - Reuters: SOLBt.BR).

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

Media Contact

Joan Coyle