The Aerocene Foundation, conceived by Argentinian contemporary artist Tomás Saraceno, launched the “Fly with Aerocene Pacha” project and set 32 world records in the process, as certified by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI).
The Aerocene Pacha is a fuel-free hot air balloon that’s lifted only by the sun and the air, without lithium, helium, or fossil fuels — it doesn’t even require a solar panels. Instead, a black membrane made of hybrid SKYTEX fabric is able to capture the ultraviolet rays of solar radiation, and have the energy absorbed into the internal body of the air in order to lift the hot air balloon into the atmosphere. The balloon is able to lift a net weight of more than 250 kg and up to two human passengers.
The record-breaking event took place at the Salinas Grandes salt flat in Argentina, which has an altitude of over 3,400 metres above sea level. Piloted by Leticia Noemi Marqués, the balloon flew to a height of up to 275.5 metres above ground and travelled a distance of 667.85 metres over a 16 minutes duration. All the 32 records were recognised under the FAI category A, subclass AT (solar balloons), general, and female categories, for distance and duration. The slogan “water and life are worth more than lithium” could be seen written on the balloon, carrying the message that, with innovation like this, we can potentially fly freely without exploiting the environment we live in.