Participating in collaborative initiatives
The Solar Impulse Foundation example
Published on April 12, 2022
Based on shared vision and expertise, Air Liquide builds enduring relationships with visionary pioneers in sustainable solutions like the Solar Impulse Foundation to spark change in society.
Bertrand Piccard is a Swiss explorer, psychiatrist and pioneer in clean technologies. In 1999, he completed a non-stop balloon trip around the globe, and in 2016 he conducted the same feat in a solar-powered aircraft, the Solar Impulse 2. Chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation, Bertrand Piccard’s explorations have always been inspired by his commitment to protect the planet.
The Solar Impulse Foundation and Air Liquide have been collaborators for 25 years. Tell us about your first meeting. Can you tell us more about this partnership?
My first contact with Air Liquide was in 1997 when they provided the helium for my balloon and oxygen for the crew during my third attempt to travel around the world. They were already an incredibly performing company that was creating innovative solutions meeting environmental challenges, even at that time. Then in 2016, Air Liquide provided the life support system for Solar Impulse pilots. It was important to find a company that could deliver oxygen all around the world and Air Liquide was the perfect partner for that. When I launched the 1,000+ Solutions1 Challenge, they became one of the main partners of my Foundation.
How does Air Liquide’s expertise help you in your mission to preserve the environment?
Air Liquide is a key player in the Foundation’s Expert Community, an independent group of science, engineering and business professionals. Their experts undertake rigorous and objective assessments of technologies seeking our Efficient Solution Label, which is given to leading processes and products that combine economic and environmental performance. As for now, 30 Air Liquide experts have assessed more than 300 technologies over the course of our partnership.
How do you explain the success of this long partnership?
The main reason is the convergence of our vision and the quest for excellence. We share the common goal of offering low-carbon and efficient processes, products and services that are economically viable, and we both have fantastic teams and dedicated professionals working hard to make this vision reality. Our partnership is natural. We have recently renewed it for four more years and our shared ambition is to continue to accelerate the adoption of cleantech solutions in the energy sector and beyond.
In partnership with Rothschild & Co. and the Solar Impulse Foundation, Air Liquide has created a €250 million investment fund dedicated to the development of highpotential small- and medium-sized companies working on environmentally friendly solutions. This fund invests notably in the sectors of clean energy, clean mobility, agriculture, the circular economy, water management and smart cities.