How the aircraft of 2016 could run on electricity (partially)
Monday 20 June 2011
Within a few years, aircraft movements on the ground could be conducted using an electric motor, according to aircraft equipment maker Honeywell.
The US company has joined with French aerospace group Safran to produce a new system which could allow aircraft to move about the airport using an electric propulsion system rather than the jet engines currently used.
Moving aircraft between the terminal and the runway (known as taxiing) can account for a noticeable amount of the emissions from a short-haul flight, particularly at airports where runways are congested and/or placed away from the terminal.
By making taxiing electric, Honeywell and Safran believe they can save airlines up to four percent in fuel consumption, because jet engines wouldn't need to be used until the aircraft was taking off from the runway.
The companies believe that the Auxiliary Power Unit, a small generator used to provide supplementary power to start the main engines, can be used to power an electric motor attached to the aircraft's main wheels.
The partners also say that the electric drive system will reduce the time aircrafts have to wait on the ground, because aircraft won't need the small tugs that push them backwards from the stand at the start of every flight.
The "electric green taxiing system" is set to be installed on new aircraft and retrofitted onto existing planes by 2016, and is expected to be used on aircraft which are more likely to be short-range flights.
The concept is on show at the Paris Air Show, which runs through June 26 in Paris.
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