EasyJet’s Plans to Use Hybrid Plane
EasyJet, the British low-cost airline carrier, has recently revealed that the company plans on trialing a hydrogen fuel cell system which uses technology similar to what is used in a Formula 1 kinetic energy recovery system. This recovery system used in the F1 industry utilizes wasted energy from braking and converts it into electrical energy. EasyJet suggests that by using a hydrogen fuel cell system, they could potentially reduce carbon emissions and save around 50,000 tons of fuel per year.
The airline carrier unveiled their plans for a hybrid airplane concept which would work by capturing energy in the fuel cells while the aircraft brakes on landing. This stored energy can then be used to power the aircraft while the main engines are turned off or while taxiing the aircraft on the ground. EasyJet has suggested that utilizing this technology would enable the airline to no longer require the use of its jet engines while performing lengthy taxi operations as their airplanes travel from the runway to the terminal.
“At EasyJet, we are continuing to apply the use of new digital and engineering technologies across the airline,” said Ian Davies, the head of engineering at EasyJet.
EasyJet has suggested that around 4 percent of fuel that the airline uses annually is taken up by taxiing procedures. The airlines have estimated that their aircraft’s typically experience around 20 minutes of taxi time per flight. This totals up to around 4 million miles per year. Under the plans for the hybrid airplane concept, the pilots would have control of the aircraft’s direction, braking, and speed during taxi operations due to the use of motors in the aircrafts’ electronics, system controllers, as well as main wheels. The main goal for EasyJet is to replace the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit (APU) and replace it with a hydrogen fuel cell. EasyJet said that the only waste product from this technology would be clean water, which they could easily use to refill the aircraft’s water systems during the flight.
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