Budget carrier dons nanotech paint

Low-cost airline Easyjet, famed for "turning Europe orange," announced February 14 that it is trialling a new kind of paint which could help turn the airline green.

It claims to have become the first commercial airline to use a nanotechnology coating which reduces air drag on the aircraft, in turn increasing fuel efficiency and cutting emissions.

The paint, which has been used on US military aircraft for 20 years, creates a perfectly smooth surface by filling in the microscopic "pores" with a resin and reduces the build-up of debris on the aircraft's surface.

This reduces the drag when air flows over the wing and fuselage, meaning less fuel is required to propel the plane - up to two percent less, according to the calculations of the manufacturer.

Easyjet has coated eight planes with the resin and will compare their performance against the rest of its 194-strong fleet over the coming year.

Greening aircraft has become a major priority for airlines, who are faced with an environmentally sensitive customer base and soaring fuel prices.

In April 2011, Lufthansa is set to begin commercial operations using a mix of biofuels and kerosene to test whether using fuels from natural sources is a realistic option for the industry.

Development is also currently underway on British Airways's sustainable jet fuel plant in east London, which will convert waste feedstock into bio jet fuel to power aircraft departing London City Airport.

http://www.easyjet.com

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