After hybrid-electric motor-powered trucks by Tesla has caught the fancy of the alternative auto seekers, now that feat is being attempted to be replicated in the air.
Attempts of creating a passenger plane that would be powered by a hybrid-electric motor are being held by Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens which have teamed up to develop the necessary technology for the same.
By the end of 2020 the project aims to substitute one of four gas turbine engines for short-haul airliners and flights with the new alternatively powered motor for a test flight. The project has been christened as the E-Fan X.
“We see hybrid-electric propulsion as a compelling technology for the future of aviation,” said Paul Eremenko, Airbus’ chief technology officer, in a press release on Tuesday.
Development of a two-megawatt motor that is intended to derive power from a new Rolls-Royce generator is the next big step for the German manufacturer Siemens. The resultant wattage from the new developing engine is expected to be about seven times of the highest output from a Tesla Model S engine.
There have been previous estimates that there is need for a collective power output of about 20 megawatts for an Airbus aircraft that is on a regional short haul and able to ferry about 100 people.
The small two-seater hybrid-electric aircraft, called the E-Fan Plus, that was brought out in the public domain in summer of 2016 at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh air show in Wisconsin, is a project that is being worked upon by the company, the European aircraft manufacturer said.
But since at the present moment, there are rising ambitions to develop a new electric powered flight for a short-haul passenger aircraft and which has assumed centerstage has meant that the initiative for the development of that jet for commercial use has now been disposed of with.
A gas turbine engine and two-megawatt generator would be developed by Rolls-Royce for the E-Fan X program while two-megawatt electric motor under the wing would be developed by Siemens and the charge for integrating all of the systems that include the manner in which it works with flight controls would be the prerogative of Airbus.
For the European air transport industry, a reduction of 65 percent in noise pollution, a fall of 90 percent in emission of nitrogen oxide and a 75 reduction in carbon dioxide emissions are the stated objectives of the European Commission’s environmental goals that sector.
While claiming that the most promising technological solution has been the hybrid-electric propulsion system, the three companies admitted in a joint press release that the current technologies would not prove adequate for fulfillment of these ambitions.
(Adapted from CNBC)