LUTON, UK: February 02, 2016. easyJet has released plans for a zero emissions hydrogen fuel system that could save 50,000 tonnes of fuel costs and aircraft CO2 emissions per year.
The hybrid 'plane concept utilizes a hydrogen fuel cell stowed in the aircraft's hold. This zero-emissions system allows energy captured as the aircraft brakes on landing to charge its lightweight batteries. As a result the aircraft can taxi, park and pull away from a gate without using its engines or a tug.
Due to the high frequency and short sector lengths of the airline’s operations, around 4.0 percent of its annual fuel bill is spent during taxiing – the equivalent of four million miles a year.
Inspired by students at Cranfield University, with which it has a three-year strategic agreement, easyJet will now work with industry partners and suppliers to trial the technology later this year.
The airline says it has a target to reduce CO2 emissions seven percent in the next five years from a current base of 81.05 grams of CO2 per passenger kilometer, which it claims is 22 percent less than from a “traditional” airline flying the same aircraft and route.
easyJet head of Engineering Ian Davies commented: “The hybrid plane concept 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. It’s also a great example of the benefits of our strategic relationship with Cranfield University,” he added.
easyJet operates a fleet of 240 A319s and A320s and will start taking delivery of A320neo aircraft from June 2017. The new 'planes will be 13 percent – 15 percent more fuel-efficient than the planes they are replacing.