• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Why fuel guzzling planes might give way for electric powered ones

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Due to its carbon footprint in the course of climate change, the aviation sector has set out to engage new ways to best sustain environmental and human health. Taking steps in redefining its source of power, fuel.

Aviation is an approximate $471.8billion industry, with about 2.9 million people flying per day. Though flying is highly convenient for travel, aircraft fuel combustion also emits significant amounts of Carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere every year.

Federal Aviation Administration reveals some of the side effects that trail after the industry, stating that aviation affects the environment in many ways: streams, rivers, and wetlands may be exposed to pollutants discharged in water from airports; and aircraft engines emit pollutants to the atmosphere.

According to Clientearth organisation, “When fossil fuels are burned, they release large amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the air. Greenhouse gas trap heat in our atmosphere, causing global warming.”

Airplanes inspire these green-house emissions; emissions that contributes to climate change.

Finding from Transport and Environment, gives further insight to aviation’s role in climate change.

It is revealed that emissions from aviation are a significant contributor to climate change. Airplanes burn fossil fuel which not only releases C02 emissions but also has strong warming non-CO2 effects due to nitrogen oxides, vapor trails and cloud formation triggered by the altitude at which aircraft operate.

Read also: Nigeria’s aviation sector deploys N12bn worth fire tenders to beef up safety

These non-C02 effects contribute significantly to global warming, as aircraft C02 and were responsible for two-third of aviation’s climate impact in 2018

The era of fuel guzzling planes is being reviewed for its impact on the environment and health.

Findings from MIT Technology Review, suggest that aviation contributes a growing share of the global greenhouse-gas emissions that cause climate change, and that battery-powered planes could help speed de-carbonization in a growing sector.

Jayant Mukhopadhya, transportation analyst at the international council on clean transportation cites that a battery-powered plane charged with renewable energy could produce nearly 90 percent less emissions than today’s planes that run on jet fuel.

MIT again reports that a number of startups are hoping to have small electric planes making relatively short trips before the end of the decade.

Heart Aerospace, a Sweden-based startup, is among the companies attempting to capitalize on the promise of batteries to commercialize electric planes. Their 19-seat planes will start flight tests in 2024 and could be flying commercially by 2026.

Anders Forslund, the company’s CEO said: “Our goal is to create the most affordable, fastest, greenest way of getting around the world.”

For the collective sake of global health, new means are being are being tested to power aviation.

DW Global Media, reports the possible breakthrough of such invention, “Alice,” an electric aircraft is gunning to make its place in the aviation space.

The platform stated that the passenger plane completed its maiden voyage on September 27, 2022, at Moses Lake airport in the US state of Washington.

The aircraft is the first passenger aircraft developed from scratch and capable of flying with battery power.
More reveals show that it was conceived by Eviation, a company founded in Israel and now is based in the pacific Northwest of the United States.

It is a nine-seat aircraft. Its aesthetic design is purpose driven, purely to optimize its flight characteristics. The aircraft is no longer the typical tube with wings and tail attached, but it rather looks like a lean whale with a sharply cut nose, flattening out towards the bottom, and a fuselage that is tapering at the rear.

The shape of the airframe itself creates extra lift to help get the immense weight if the batteries off the ground. At the T-shaped tail, two magni650 electric motors are installed, delivering 644 kilowatts each, to enable a cruise speed of 407 kilometers per hour (252 miles per hour).

Although the biggest problem the aircraft is facing is with the batteries; they are much too bulky and too heavy, and do not deliver energy for efficient and prolonged traveling.

Bjorn Nagel, director of the institute for system architecture in aeronautics in Hamburg, expressed that at the wake of its first successful first flight -a distance calculating not more than eight minutes- the company lowered Alice’s expected travel range from 815km to 445km.

Which means the electric aircraft can only be deployed on niche markets for now. But they are on demand.

He goes on to applaud the efficiency of flying electrical, how the batteries powers close to 90 percent if it is charged only with wind energy.

Gregory Davis has said that the first Alice aircraft deliveries to customers are planned for as early as 2027 if “batteries technology evolves the way we expect it to,” adding that certification of the plane would also need to go according to plan.

According to MIT, there is already an array of early adopters: Cape Air from the northeastern US, which was a launch customer, committed to buying 75 Alice planes.

Aircraft charter frim GlobalX Airlines wants 50. Deutsche Post announced orders for 12 of the plane’s cargo version for its subsidiary DHL.