European Aerospace Thinking of a Turbine Powered Chevy Volt-like Airplane

European aerospace consortium EADS has a new idea for the future, an airplane that is less noisy and has cleaner emissions. The future here, is talking about 2050 though. E-Thrust is a collaboration between EADS Innovation Works program and engine manufacturer Rolls Royce. Working quite like some hybrid cars, the basic idea is to have batteries and motors power up airplanes for the flight.

Currently, batteries aren’t all that kosher for powering airplanes, which is why the project looks at different options and techniques that may be available in the future. E-Thrust will see electrically driven fans to provide thrust for the airplane, the fans being placed at the wing root to better the aerodynamic flow. A gas-turbine engine would provide thrust for the plane while it cruises, while batteries kick in to power the fans for more intensive operations like take-off and landing.

Going towards an analogy with hybrid electric cars, or the Chevrolet Volt in this case, a small jet engine on the E-Thrust would power batteries, who in turn power high bypass ration fans at the front of the engine. It is these fans that are responsible for providing most of the push for an aircraft. The windmill electric fans could also be used to recharge the batteries on the plan in reduced power situations like descent, working a bit like “regenerative braking” in hybrid cars. Wired Autopia

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