Engineers at MIT conceptualized a hybrid-electric plane that would reduce nitrogen oxide emission levels and harmful greenhouse gases significantly by 95 percent. The nitrogen oxide levels conduct significant damage to the respiratory system and trigger respiratory diseases and cardiovascular disorders. This results in deaths of staggering 16,000 deaths a year. A 95% reduction in gas emissions will significantly cut those deaths by 92% and save many lives annually.
“Developing this would be a significant engineering challenge, but there are no fundamental physics limitations,” stated Steven Barrett, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. “If a person wants to reach a net-zero aviation sector, this is the most effective way to solve air pollution issues. This is significant, and also technologically viable.”
While the hybrid-electric plane’s primary thrust source is still the conventional gas turbine, it will be located in the cargo hold and not in the wings in the new hybrid-electric variant. This turbine would produce electricity, which would power the wing-mounted electric propellers. The emissions will also be significantly cut down with an emissions-control system, like the ones prevalent in modern diesel trucks.
According to Steven Barrett, the new concept is a possible answer to that battery technology isn’t yet suitable for larger aircraft. Electrifying them isn’t yet possible and “won’t happen anytime soon without a significant breakthrough in battery technology,” Barrett stated. While the other hybrid-electric system will need 0.6% more fuel to fly a new inducted Boeing 737 or Airbus A320, the emissions will cut down with the emissions control system.
Hybrid Electric Airline
A hybrid electric aircraft is an aircraft vehicle equipped with a hybrid electric powertrain. This is because the energy density of lithium-ion batteries is comparatively much lower than aviation fuel. A hybrid electric aircraft also increases the range of flight as compared to a pure electric aircraft. There were around 30 global projects of hybrid electric by May 2018, and short-haul hybrid-electric airliner crafts will be envisioned from 2032.
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