Weeee! I must say: The world looks really great from up here. As an owl, I can understand why people have always dreamed of flying. But air traffic, which is steadily increasing, has made my world very noisy and chaotic. What’s more, airplanes consume huge amounts of aviation fuel, which has an impact on the environment. The bad thing is that when this fuel burns, it generates water vapor, carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxides, and they are especially harmful to our climate. Worse yet, these substances remain in the atmosphere for a long time and cannot be broken down. As a result, their effects are almost three times as high in the air as near the ground.
Fortunately, many companies are already exploring alternative propulsion systems for aircraft, like electric or hybrid drives, fuel cells or biofuels. For example, the airline EasyJet is working with the American start-up company Wright Electric to develop an electric airplane, the first of its kind. Their aim is to build a plane within the next ten years that can fly up to 540 kilometers on electric power alone. That’s the distance from Paris to London, and the flight won’t take any longer than before. EasyJet would be able to cover almost 20 percent of its routes with electric aircraft. Pretty amazing, wouldn’t you say?
Saving money and the environment
The big advantage of e-aircraft is that they’re much quieter and are free from emissions. They’re also more economical than the ones that are currently in use. EasyJet’s first prototype is expected to take off by 2021, and commercial operations are planned to start just six years later. Other companies, like Airbus and Siemens, are engaged in similar projects. Even NASA is working on ways to make airplanes more fuel efficient. Its novel solution is called Leading Edge Asynchronous Propeller Technology (LEAPTech). The plane’s wings are extremely narrow and have a large number of propeller motors. This makes it easier to gain altitude. The advantages are lower power consumption, less noise and shorter takeoffs and landings.
The new planes will not only make life up here a lot quieter, but also give me cleaner air. I’ll keep you posted.