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European Airline Unveils Plans for Hybrid Jetliner

posted: 02/05/16
by: Danny Clemens
Easyjet Airbus A319
Flightlevel80/iStock

An innovative fuel cell system could save British airline easyJet more than 55,000 tons of fuel each year, significantly cutting down the company's carbon footprint.

Earlier this week, the low-cost carrier unveiled its hybrid plane concept, which harnesses energy produced by the aircraft's braking system. Stored in lightweight hydrogen fuel cells, that energy is then used in place of the plane's jet engines during taxiing, which accounts for approximately 4% of the airline's fuel consumption.

See Also: Daredevils on Jetpacks Fly Alongside World's Largest Jetliner

The hydrogen cells also produce waste in the form of clean water, which is funneled back into the hybrid plane's water system.

Furthermore, advances in electronics systems would give pilots closer control over an aircraft's wheels, thereby eliminating the need for tugs and streamlining the airline's ramp operation.

The hybrid plane concept is a product of a collaboration with Cranfield University's Centre for Aeronautics, where students were are participating in a strategic partnership to develop sustainable aviation technology.

Related: This 555-foot Blimp Could Be the World's Largest Aircraft

"At easyJet, we are continuing to apply the use of new digital and engineering technologies across the airline," easyJet Head of Engineering Ian Davies remarked in a news release.

"The hybrid plane concept we are announcing today is both a vision of the future and a challenge to our partners and suppliers to continue to push the boundaries towards reducing our carbon emissions."

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