68 minutes | Sep 2nd 2020

Ep7: Bertrand Piccard "A Good and Exciting Life"

According to Wikipedia, Bertrand Piccard is a Swiss psychiatrist and balloonist. This is something of an understatement. Bertrand did indeed qualify as a psychiatrist from the University of Lausanne. But he is best-known as an explorer, aviator and communicator. 

Bertrand comes from a family of explorers – grandfather Auguste invented the pressurised balloon capsule was the first man to witness the curvature of the earth with his own eyes, setting the world altitude record 16,201 meters in 1932. His father, Jacques Piccard, designed became the first man to dive 10,916 metres in a submarine to the bottom of the Marianas Trench, and also did a month-long, 3,000 km drift dive in the Gulf Stream. Bertrand made the first non-stop round-the-world balloon flight in 1999, together with co-pilot Brian Jones. He then made the first round-the-world flight in an electric plane in 2015 and 2016, sharing flight segments with André Borschberg.

 He now runs the Solar Impulse Foundation and the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions, which is in the process of certifying 1000 economically competitive and environmentally-friendly products and technologies which could be adopted by users right now. Michael is a proud member of the advisory board, and as of today, we have certified 652 solutions. Bertrand lives in Lausanne and like Michael, is a friend of les Diablerets, a small village where his family holidayed and where he learned to ski.


Bertrand Piccard’s website


Bertrand Piccard’s Wikipedia page


The story of the Solar Impulse round-the-world electric flight


Solar Impulse flight on Wikipedia


How to raise $170m for a crazy idea


Solar Impulse Foundation/World Alliance for Efficient Solutions


Breitling Orbiter on Wikipedia


The Greatest Adventure, book on the balloon circumnavigation by pilots Piccard and Jones

About Cleaning Up

Once a week Michael Liebreich has a conversation (and a drink) with a leader in clean energy, mobility, climate finance or sustainable development.

Each episode covers the technical ground on some aspect of the low-carbon transition – but it also delves into the nature of leadership in the climate transition: whether to be optimistic or pessimistic; how to communicate in order to inspire change; personal credos; and so on.

And it should be fun – most of the guests are Michael’s friends.

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