Electric planes

Anyone who has ever been in the car park of a supermarket and tried to cross the road directly into the path of an electric car will know how eerily quiet they are. Why then can’t aeroplanes, whose noise pollution is the ruiner of many tranquil Sunday afternoon, also be electric (and quiet)?

Recently, it seems major airlines have become more interested in the prospect, according to a recent article by The Manufacturer. Airbus is set to team up with Seimens and Rolls-Royce to develop a commercial 50-100 person hybrid plane by the 2030’s, and Easyjet is in talks with Right Electric to create a similar aircraft of its own.

Although an eco-friendly angle can be taken here, the main incentive remains profit. Air travel accounts for just 2% of global annual man-man emissions, although this is expected to double in the next 20 years. Electric planes should be more cost-efficient than their kerosene-powered cousins for a number of reasons including: having fewer moving parts to maintain; fewer parts make for lighter and more efficient aircraft; and electricity being a cheaper source of power than combustible fuels.

For all this to happen, however, technology needs to advance well past its present level – currently, battery parts far out-weigh  engines, for example.

Although the technology still has a way to go, it is refreshing to see the desire for financial growth underpinned by ecological concern in this case study. Cheaper plane tickets, increased profit margins, and more eco-friendly planes are surely a win-win for everyone involved.

Here’s hoping for electric shipping next (the world’s 15 biggest ships create more pollution than all the cars in the world:

We look forward to working with UK based businesses which are leading the way in this technology, much of which is being spun out of UK universities.

Driven by legislation and international climate agreements, the aviation industry is edging ever closer to a low-carbon solution to propulsion

By Rebecca Garland on 29/08/2019