WINDREAM ONE - transatlantic crossing using natural power
By Mike Hanlon
March 20, 2007
March 21, 2007 Paris saw the official launch of the WINDREAM ONE campaign this morning, a project headed up by Peggy Bouchet and Stéphane Rousson, sponsored by the Theolia Group. This ambitious project intends to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a sail balloon driven by natural and renewable energy sources. The quest conjures up images of great aeronautical discoveries where the courage, perseverance and a slight dose of madness inhabiting the spirit of visionaries and adventurers opened up the skies for future generations.
WINDREAM ONE is an ambitious enterprise : to make the first successful “aero-maritime” crossing of the Atlantic powered solely by renewable energy sources. The idea is not really to establish a record, but to prove that it is technologically possible to cover a distance of 5 000 km flying night and day using sources of energy drawn from the sea, the sun and the wind. All those involved in WINDREAM ONE wish to participate in a new chapter of aeronautical history, in a context were they contribute scientific knowledge and skills current thought on fundamental choices for tomorrow’s energy solutions, a field where Theolia is a forerunner.
In order to bring together for this human and technological adventure an extended team of twenty or so private and university researchers together with technical and financial partners, it was necessary to muster up all of the tenacity, inspiration, knowledge and daring of the project’s pilots – the creator behind the project Stéphane Rousson, a renowned expert in aerostation and the navigator-adventurer Peggy Bouchet, with her experience in setting up projects along with her experience of rowing solo across the Atlantic.
After the three years preparation spent bringing the project to fruition, Peggy and Stéphane are now ready to enter into the concrete stage of presenting the WINDREAM ONE campaign thanks to tier partnership with Theolia. Research into highly elaborate aeraulic techniques are coming to an end and the construction of the balloon, the car and navigation appendages will get underway in the month of June. The very first flight is scheduled to take place in Toulon in the middle of September, followed up by a test flight from Nice to Calvi and a demonstration flight over Lake Geneva in November, the WINDREAM ONE team will head for Dakar in Senegal at the start of January to set up a new technical base. After reassembling the balloon and a new series of tests, the pilots Peggy Bouchet and Stéphane Rousson will be on stand-by for a weather window opening the way to lift off. Both air and sea conditions have to be right for the ten day crossing over to Martinique.
Sun and wind are the main sources of energy for WINDREAM ONE, but the sea will playing a major role in this technological challenge. WINDREAM ONE is a dirigible 900m3 inflated with helium. She is 93 ft 6 inches (28.50 m) long, has a «chien de mer», a curved carbon foil which will be under the water’s surface. It is linked to the balloon’s car by a long cable whose length can be adjusted from 65 ft 6 inches to 164 ft (20m to 50 m) and which acts as a centreboard. This appendage assists the crew in controlling the flight path.
Environmental damage and exhaustion of classic fossil and fuel energy sources are forcing man to find new ways of doing things to preserve energy sources for future generations. This is becoming increasingly urgent and groups like Theolia along with the more adventurous among us, like Peggy and Stéphane, are ready to explore new technological horizons, even if its means risking their life. Renewable energy is still in its early days and we are a long way from understanding how best to exploit it. The WINDREAM ONE pioneering campaign enters into the realms of exploration and hopes to play an education role in private and public research programmes in the hope of better understanding the wide range of clean energy applications.
Jean Marie Santander – Founding Cairman of Theolia : “Peggy Bouchet, Stéphane Rousson and THEOLIA progress through shared values : strong will, abnegation and the desire to succeed. Our business, renewable energy, as yet to mature. A lot remains to be done in terms of research if the field is to progress. Particularly for renewable energy to be applied in domains other than the production of electricity. It is for this reason that THEOLIA has given its undertaking to Peggy and Stéphane in supporting their technological and adventurous project WINDREAM ONE. If we truly wish renewable energy sources to play a more important role in our daily lives to the detriment of fossil and nuclear fuel, we really have no choice but to encourage and support initiative of this type.”
The Theolia Group produces electricity from renewable energy sources.
Theolia is an independent European company, one of the rare companies producing energy which is 100% clean. Driven by a profound conviction that the future should be preserved, the Group has been developing wind power sources as well as other applications from the biomass, biogas, solar energy and co-generation. Environmental, economic and geopolitical constraints reassure us in the choices we have made from both a humanistic and strategic point of view. The company is quoted on the Eurolist B Euronext exchange and is now a major player in the European clean energy market.