Robotics And Machine ANalytics Laboratory (RAMAN LAB) Malaviya National Institute of Technology Jaipur

Alternative Energy in Flying!

In the last few years, pollution analysis and control have been a central focus in a lot of fields and aviation industry is not an exception to that. Air traffic accounts for 2% of the world’s carbon emissions and 12% of the CO2 emissions from transportation [1]. The 12% appears to be small when compared with the 74% from road transportation, but, with the world growing smaller every day and air travel becoming an essential aspect of our lives, this number is quite significant!

With focus on this number, recent developments in the aviation industry have resulted in higher efficiency planes. Furthermore, planes are observing a technological development towards utilization of alternative sources of fuel. For example, in 2009, Solar Impulse set an ultimate example of the first fully solar-powered plane.

Although it is a single seater plane (pilot only), with its first flight, it showcased the capability of the technology to use only solar power to fly, not just small distances but around the world! This plane is capable of flying during the night as well!

Similarly, hybrid electric planes are being developed for small distance commutes by a few different companies. As is with an all-electric vehicle on the road, range anxiety becomes a major issue with the all-electric planes, perhaps to a greater extent. Let’s be honest, if it absolutely had to happen, I would much rather run out of power on the road rather than in the middle of the sky! These companies are working towards extending the range of flight on their hybrid electric planes by increasing efficiency, and reducing the overall weight!

Depending on the technology used, alternative energy planes may be cheaper to operate ( therefore, cheaper to fly) and cleaner than the existing technology! Read about these fascinating planes by following the links below.

  1. Solar Impulse
[1] Air Transport Action Group – Facts & Figures, ATAG

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