While we already have hybrid-electric cars, such as the Toyota Prius, our aviation is still dominated by oil-based fuels. This will be problematic as oil supplies start to dwindle and become more expensive. That is why engineers and scientists with the European Aerospace Consortium EADS and Rolls-Royce are currently developing a hybrid electric propulsion system, Inhabitat reports.
The new aircraft is dubbed E-Thrust and due to its hybrid nature it will burn considerably less fuel than its totally oil-powered counterparts. There are many positive benefits of this for the airline industry. Firstly, less oil-fuel consumption should reduce overall costs of flying as oil prices continue to soar. Secondly, the reduction in oil-fuel consumption will reduce harmful emissions released by the airline industry. Finally, the electric engines run much quieter and will dramatically reduce noise pollution.
Should everything run smoothly and to timetable we can expect to see these new Hybrid-airliners operational by 2050. In my opinion this is a case of too-little too-late as oil supplies will already be dwindling and pollution from air travel will have already reached dangerous levels. As an innovation this is great but as a means of fighting climate change 2050 simply isn’t an ambitious enough target.
Image courtesy of Inhabitat