News — June 28, 2019

4th Solar Impulse Expert Challenge held in Munich

bertrand piccard with experts
- Photo by © Gabriela Neeb

Written by Chiara Cosenza 3 min read

24 experts met in Munich to assess the solutions who applied for the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label. The result of the event will be 28 completed assessments. 

After the Experts Challenge events held in Paris and Bruxelles, the Solar Impulse expert community has gathered again on June 26th. The event was held in Munich, aimed to attract an international pool of experts and was hosted by Roland Berger.

The Solar Impulse Expert challenges are an occasion for volunteer experts to meet in person, exchange best practices and welcome new experts into the community. Aside from the energizing effect of meeting likeminded people in real life, the purpose of these events is also to accelerate the assessment process of candidate solutions, in order to grant them the label and include them among the 1000 efficient and sustainable solutions that will be presented to world leaders and decision makers by Bertrand Piccard, Founder and Chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation.

The Munich gathering was a bit smaller than past events, with 24 attendees but equally efficient as the others in terms of assessments. 28 assessments were done by the experts. Knowing that each solution needs to be reviewed by at least two experts, this means that the result of one day is almost the equivalent of 14 solutions to be granted the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label. These solutions would join the 176 solutions that are already labeled (check them out on our website). 

For some of the attendees of the event, it was the first time they met in person with the Solar Impulse Foundation team, as well as with Bertrand Piccard. It was a special occasion and there was a lot of expectation in the room about this day together. Bertrand and the team traveled from Lausanne, the Foundation headquarters, in order to meet with the women and men who each week give their time to assess the solutions who will be selected to be part of the 1000 solutions portfolio.

The solutions assessed on June 26th brought efficient and sustainable solutions in the areas of industry innovation and infrastructure (41%), affordable and clean energy (33%), sustainable cities and communities (15%) as well as responsible consumption and production (11%).

Who attended the event ?

Experts who attended the event were an equal mix of new experts as well as experienced ones. Giving us the opportunity to grow the community of motivated and likeminded individuals, using their knowledge to accelerate the adoption of clean technologies in the World. The experts of the Solar Impulse Foundation are scientists and engineers who have at least 5 years of experience in at least one of the 5 SDG’s that SIF has selected.

The enthusiasm in the room was contagious and the experts were thrilled by the opportunity to work together.

“I have appreciated the event very much : Bertrand Piccard’s keynote among the other ones, the meeting and discussion with other experts, the assessments done with other experts, the workshop on hydrogen, which brought clarity to some of my doubs.
Furthermore, the event was wonderfully organized ! BRAVO !” Antonio Delfino, Head of Physics and Chemistry Department, Senior Fellow Michelin Group and Expert for the Solar Impulse Foundation 

“It was an honour and pure pleasure to assist to today’s event and collaborate and contribute to this assessment exercise. Thank you for the opportunity and looking forward to receiving new assessment requests” Bénédicte Deryckere, Grenoble Ecole de Management, Guest lecturer and Expert for the Solar Impulse Foundation

Bertrand Piccard had the occasion to recognise the outstanding engagement and contribution given by David Snoswell, who has individually accomplished 35 assessments, thanking him personally and handling him the “Solar Impulse best expert” award.

Photo credit : © Gabriela Neeb

What did the program of the day look like ?

Experts arrived in the morning to the Roland Berger headquarters in the heart of Munich. A modern building with great windows and bright rooms, located on the side of one of the largest public parks in the World : the Englischer Garten.

The day started with an Expert speed-meeting in order to allow everybody to know each other and break the ice before a long day of inspiration and fruitful collaboration.

Photo credit : © Gabriela Neeb

Once everybody had the occasion to introduce themselves, Ralph Buchele, Roland Berger Partner, gave the opening keynote on “Global markets for innovative green technologies”, a very interesting and insightful presentation. He provided the context of raising CO2 emissions, their impact for the World, as well as the technologies that are emerging to address this challenge.

The tone was set and the energy was at its best : the perfect time to start the assessment of the solutions that have submitted their technologies and services to improve / replace the obsolete ones in the market as well as addressing their sustainability impact.

Experts were divided into 5 teams, depending on the topic, and each time was assisted by someone from the Solar Impulse team helping clarify doubts about processes and platform.

Photo credit : © Gabriela Neeb

After the lunch break, a few labeled solutions were invited to join the experts and showcase their prototypes in real life. This was a very exciting and engaging moment between people passionate about technology and green tech. Also, the experts enjoyed particularly being able to play around with the H-aero solar powered drone which was flying in the room.

Photo credit : © Gabriela Neeb

At 2pm, Bertrand Piccard delivered an engaging keynote presentation on Solar Impulse and its role to deliver a message larger than its own technology: clean technologies exist and the ecological transition is possible.

Photo credit : © Gabriela Neeb
Photo credit : © Gabriela Neeb

During the afternoon, the Experts participated to 4 technical round tables hosted by 4 of our volunteer experts on

  1. Circular Models for Food and Clothing (facilitated by Benedicte Deryckere)
  2. Grid integration of renewable technologies for creating the energy system of the future, (facilitated by Rubina Singh)
  3. Smart data issued from the living place and related business models in tomorrow’s Smart Cities (facilitated by Eric Gehl)
  4. Hydrogen economy and its intersection with energy storage on the medium term scale (facilitated by David Snoswell).

The experts had great discussions about these topics and how the 1000 solution portfolio fits in there.

Martin Hoyer, Roland Berger Partner, gave the closing remarks on energy and artificial intelligence.

But who are the experts and what is their role at the Foundation?

Experts are professionals who have at least 5 years of experience in one of the SDG areas (clean water and sanitation, affordable clean energy, industry innovation & infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities and responsible consumption and production) for their technological feasibility, environmental and socio-economic benefits, and potential or realized profitability, and have been labelled as a Solar Impulse Efficient Solution.

This label serves as a new and credible symbol that can be applied to products, processes and services and serves as a guarantee of quality to those looking to implement clean solutions, and affords a competitive edge to the innovators behind them.

Our label seeks to bridge the gap between ecology and economy, bringing together protection of the environment and financial viability to show that these solutions are not expensive fixes to problems, but rather opportunities for clean economic growth.

How to join ?

New Expert Challenges will be organised in the future. If you want to attend, and you meet the expert criteria, you can sign up here to become a Solar Impulse Expert and monitor our events page to be informed about the future ones. 


Written by Chiara Cosenza on June 28, 2019

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