EasyJet unveils plan for 'hybrid' planes using hydrogen fuel cells
EasyJet is a notable company who is always looking to make flying more economically and environmentally more efficient. With the implementation of hydrogen fuel cells on their airplanes, easyJet plans to convert their ordinary airplanes into hybrid airplanes. This switch would save approximately 50,000 tons of fuel and consequent CO2 emissions each year.
Ian Davies, the CEO of EasyJet, mentions his company is a low cost carrier, which serves as an advantage for the technological changes to be made. This is because most of easyJet’s customers will travel with only carry-on luggage, which leaves more room in their hulls for the technology needed to transform their planes into hybrids. The article further mentions that when the hybrid plane lands, the cells would collect energy from the plane’s breaks. This storage of energy would then be used to charge lightweight batteries while the plane is on the ground, which in turn would be responsible for preventing the plane from using fuel while on the ground. Surprisingly, the article mentions aircrafts use roughly four percent of their fuel while taxiing so the hybrid planes will be successful in saving a decent amount of fuel by storing energy while on the ground rather than burning it.
EasyJet is advertising their aircrafts to be completely environmentally friendly, but this isn’t necessary true because their hybrid planes will still be putting clean water to waste. EasyJet still plans to use clean water in their hybrid plane’s toilets and sinks. However, Ian Davies claims to be looking for a solution to this problem. After learning that the hybrid planes will still entail features that are not environmentally savvy, one is left to question if the planes will still carry fuel in the case that the hydrogen fuel cells encounter flaws in creating and storing energy. Accordingly, another issue the easyJet’s hybrid planes may face is finding people to invest in them. Although this hybrid technology is very efficient it is not the most affordable to the eyes of potential investors. The article mentions within the last 10 years the price of fuel has dropped by 75%, which inevitably is persuading people to stick with fuel-powered aircrafts. With the introduction of power electronic systems and power motors in the hybrid plane’s main wheels, easyJet’s hybrid planes are beginning to become more desired by pilots. These systems allow the Pilot’s to still have total control over the aircraft’s speed, direction, and breaking during taxing. With these features, Davies hopes people will be motivated to invest in his hybrid planes early.
Carrington, Daisy. "EasyJet's Plans for a Hybrid Fleet, Using Hydrogen Fuel Cells - CNN.com." CNN. Cable News Network, 2 Feb. 2016. Web. 09 Feb. 2016.