New flight just a dream for the future?

1280px-E-Genius_take-off_at_2011_Green_Flight_Challenge_02
The ‘e-Genius’ is a one-man electric aircraft, developed by the Institute of Aircraft Design at Stuttgart University. The first flight took place on 25 May 2011. Top speed: 270 km/h, span: 17 m, length: 8.1 m/Image: Institute of Aircraft Design, Stuttgart University

In the summer of 2015, Airbus sent an electrically driven two-seater, the “E-fan”, across the English Channel. At the same time, “e-Genius”, also a two-seater battery-powered aircraft, developed at the Stuttgart Institute, flew to Milan and back. Energy costs: only 20 Euro.

At present, the Stuttgart Institute is developing a hybrid aircraft. The lithium polymer battery is to be supplemented by a generator powered with diesel, kerosene or agrosprit. The biggest problem remains with the batteries, which are still too heavy. Another problem is the cost. Developing a new aircraft is very expensive. “The range is from 50 to 100 billion euros,” said Gernot Klepper of the Institute for World Economy in Kiel. Development requires a commitment of 20 years. Airbus, for example, expects standard operations for its electric aircraft to commence no earlier than the year 2050. Also, industry representatives demonstrate caution: it will be a while yet before any alternative, environmentally-friendly fuels are implemented. Until then, the industry is focusing on sustainable alternative fuels and “process optimization”. Continue reading “New flight just a dream for the future?” »