Taiwan Should Develop Indigenous Green Energy: Solar Impulse Initiator

14 Sep

With heavy reliance on imported energy, Taiwan should develop indigenous green energy, urged Bertrand Piccard, initiator and co-pilot of Solar Impulse, the first successful round-the-world solar powered flight.

Speaking at WCIT 2017 (World Congress on Information Technology, 2017) in Taipei, Piccard noted that given government subsidies, green-energy developers can not only gain profits but also boost their corporate image, adding that the Taiwanese government can enhance citizens’ health status via promoting green energy and thereby cut medical and public-health outlays.

As a keynote speaker of WCIT 2017, Piccard, a Swiss psychiatrist and balloonist, shared with audience his experience materializing his daring dream. The project was sponsored by Covestros, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, which supplied key lightweight materials for the solar-powered plane. Covestros also provides thermal-insulating materials for the plane, to protect pilots from hypothermia, as the plane is deprived of many traditional equipment for plane, due to weight limit.

As founder and chairman of WAES (World Alliance for Efficient Solutions), he pointed out that he will continue pushing clean green energy, taking advantage of the Solar Impulse project.

Piccard recalled that initially many people snubbed the project, saying that a round-the-world flight in a passenger plane entirely on green energy is impossible. He stressed that humans should dare to dream, even for what appear to be impossible. One hundred years ago, people also told Wright brothers that it was impossible for human to soar in the sky like birds. In the same vein, at the beginning naysayers said that computer was impractical, as it would occupy an entire room. Nowadays, a smartphone fitted in a pocket has capacity similar to computer.

Piccard admitted that investments in new technologies are costly but without them there would be no technological innovation and commercialization of those innovation. He believed that technologies for Solar Impulse can also be applied on the ground, urging people daring to imagine various possibilities. Many technologies, said he, might be unfeasible 10 years ago or overly costly five years ago but have become mature now. Sticking to existing technologies instead of embracing new ones indicates lack of forward-looking vision, said Piccard.

Piccard urged the media to transmit possible messages, instead of naysay, reporting more positive cases like Solar Impulse, so that his example can inspire more people to dream and put it into action bravely.

WCIT 2017 coincides with 2nd anniversary for the founding of Covestros, as a spinoff of Bayer. Li Ming-cheng, general manager of Taiwan region, noted that Covestros plans to expand the TPU plant in Changhua, consolidating Taiwan’s status as the company’s TPU production center. Patric Thomas, Covestros CEO, pointed out that the spinoff has given the company more flexible operation, boosting revenue growth, adding that it has substituted IT equipment for previous outdated equipment, in line with the concept of efficiency and sustainability.

(Collaborative media: TechNews, photo courtesy of TechNews)