With increased concerns for global warming and preservation of our planet, governments are increasingly focusing on radical measures to contribute their efforts. Preparation for the post-oil era is a worldwide thing now as companies join in the efforts to secure the future generation. The aviation industry also made efforts to reduce carbon emissions by using biofuels. However, there seems to be a need for a bigger solution to replace the kerosene-burning commercial aircraft.
Just like the car industry, electric solutions are the way forward. Although they have not been embraced by the masses and many companies, they are set to become the only reasonable solution. The reason for the lack of full embrace and inclusion could be the availability of cheap traditional use of oil. Innovators are also facing a few challenges before they make the electric plane fully operational. The bigger problem is that we still have an option hence not desperate for a new option whose time has not come. Since we are still headed for oil run-out, the electric plane is set to be the way forward.
Batteries versus Jet fuel
The ability to pack lesser energy per unit compared to jet fuel gives batteries a big advantage. According to experts, electric batteries still remain 40 times less efficient even when the best qualities are considered. In such cases, electric motors can compensate to the gap by improving the efficiency of converting energy into power. However, the gap cannot match the needed levels produced by jet fuel. This means that an electric aircraft will need to carry many heavy batteries to near the performance of the current models. This is a difficulty but does not mean an impossibility. Engineers are still committed to find the best solution to adjust the deficits experienced. Major advancements in innovation of electric planes have led to production of a variety of useful options already. Research organizations and entrepreneurs have worked on the previous problems to solve the problem and presented some well performing planes. Here are some of the planes to sample:
CityAirbus is among the latest in the list of electric planes with its first successful maiden flights. It is auto-piloted and can land and take-off vertically making it ideal for urban environments. The latest version can carry four passengers. Besides the zero emissions and low noise levels, their operational costs are cheap enough to compete with traditional taxis on the road. The manufacturer is committed to develop a fully electric airliner in the long-term after crossing the megawatt threshold necessary for powering the biggest planes.
2. A3’s Vahana
A3 owns the Vahana, which is unmanned and designed to move cargos and passengers within a city. It has a cool design, which seems straight out of a science-fiction film. The module nestles especially between the two parallel wings hold the four engines. It is colorful and adopts a post-modern design. The vertical take-off and landing abilities make it possible to fly from a building. This means there will be no need for the thousands of acres used for airports in complex urban environments. This plane is ready for testing, according to the latest press release.
3. Airbus’s E-Fan
Airbus has tested its E-Fan successfully already in Europe. The renowned manufacture, Airbus, teamed up with German conglomerate Siemens and generated the electrical aircraft research program. The result was the E-Fan light aircraft crossed the English Channel in its maiden flight purely on electric propulsion. Despite this success, Airbus seemed to stall and get into potentially disruptive concepts. In a statement, the General Manager noted that they were not ambitious enough and would be planning on major transformation with newer technologies.
4. Zunum Aero
US multinational Boeing has partnered with Silicon valley’s JetBlue technology ventures to produce the Zunum Aero. This is a hybrid-electric aircraft with the ability to provide cheaper more convenient ‘door-to-door’ air travel. It is designed to lower the cost of air travel for the masses and take advantage of local airfields to avoid the already congested larger airports. The original plan was to accommodate 12 passengers or up to 700 miles but since reduced.