13th Oct 2017
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You could be flying on an electric plane within a decade
electric planes

Each year, up to 3 billion tonnes of carbon are emitted into our atmosphere, making travel one of the most environmentally harmful industries on the planet.

Many travel companies do wonderful work trying to limit or eliminate their carbon footprint, but the very act of plane travel lets all that hard work down.

The good news is that low-emission air travel may be here sooner than you think.

Wright Electric and EasyJet have joined forces to create an electric plane and plan to fly passengers on battery-operated airplanes within the next 10 years.

Wright Electric has already designed and flown a two-seater electric plane, but, as you can imagine, the logistics of flying 150 people will be much more challenging.

The issue is figuring out how to improve battery technology, but with the right amount of money – and significant ingenuity – low-emission planes could be landing at an airport near you in a decade.

Imagine if the fuselage and windows were coated in solar panel technology? With such low ‘fuel’ costs, air travel could also be a lot cheaper in future.

What do you think of this idea? Are you excited about low-emission airplanes? Do you think travel will become much cheaper with electricity as propulsion?

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    COMMENTS

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    Colin M
    14th Oct 2017
    11:12am
    Assuming they need to fly mostly during daylight then travelling east to west would allow for much longer flights than going north or south. And flights from Sydney to Los Angeles eg. would all have to leave at daybreak. Otherwise, it's a major breakthrough for long distance travel.
    Eddy
    14th Oct 2017
    11:55am
    The major problem I see is the landing weight of the aircraft. If for example an aircraft takes off with 10 tonnes of fuel on board and arrives at it's destination with one tonne of fuel it has lost 9 tonnes of weight. However an electric aircraft with a 10 tonne battery will arrive at it's destination with a 10 tonne battery, no reduction from take off to landing weight. Could be a significant problem, but hopefully resolvable. We have all heard about aircraft having to dump fuel to reduce weight before an emergency landing, how do you dump a battery? Sorry to be a spoilsport but my engineer hat is on again.
    Eddy
    14th Oct 2017
    12:05pm
    PS. the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry over 50 tonnes of fuel, It's maximum take off weight is 228 tonnes and maximum landing weight is 172 tonnes.
    pedro the swift
    14th Oct 2017
    12:15pm
    Sounds like pie in the sky , to coin a phrase. Can't see it happening for more than decades. I will wait for an antigravity drive instead.
    Do you know how much thrust current jet engines on airliners have to develop to take off? I would like to see a solar panel develop that much energy!
    As for becoming cheaper, rubbish. Can't get any cheaper than it is now, new tech. (if its happens)wil always be more expensive.
    A better bet would be airships(al la Zepplin) filled with helium, slower but fairly low emission.


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