Iris Challenger II, the first hot air balloon powered by electricity, will attempt to cross the English Channel. Air Liquide is a technological partner in this grand adventure.

The co-pilots, Pierre Chabert and Gérard Feldzer, who are passionate about and highly skilled experts in aeronautics, took off today from Cap Gris Nez, France (Pas-de-Calais), heading for England as they attempt to cross the Channel. They are looking to set a world record, for the first crossing of the Channel in a hot air balloon powered by electricity.

The record distance is around 40 kilometers.

Faithful to its pioneering spirit, the Air Liquide Group has chosen to contribute its expertise to this human and technological adventure. To help achieve this exploit, the group is supplying 600 m3 of helium that will fill the shell of the hot air balloon.

This crossing is the first step of the Transoceans project whose aim is to carry out major crossings, explorations and scientific missions using means of transportation powered by environmentally friendly renewable energies, repeating the exploits of the pioneers in the field of aeronautics with the resources of tomorrow.

To meet the major challenges of the world, Air Liquide develops innovative technologies, with a particular focus on the area of energy, and participates actively in the search for and deployment of cleaner energy solutions. The group’s collaboration with the 2013 TransManche project also illustrates its 25 years of expertise in the field of aeronautics and its desire to take part in the major scientific and technological projects that are pushing back the boundaries of knowledge, thus shaping our future.