Engineering

250 EasyJet Planes with Electric Engines and Fuel Cells

EasyJet wants to retool its Airbus aircraft so that the engines on the ground without engine thrust can roll. Instead they should be driven by electric motors which are supplied with power from fuel cells. At the same time power to braking off after landing are won and saved.

According to EasyJet each aircraft from the company between the airfield and Terminal moves around 20 minutes flight driving on the ground. The A320 fleet of EasyJet with over 250 machines lays back a year rolling about 6.5 million km. This produces around 4% of the total fuel consumption. This about 50,000 tonnes of kerosene is extrapolated to all machines in the year.

Two electric motors in the main bogies

In order to save kerosene EasyJet wants to equip the two main landing gear with electric motors. The pilots to control via a control unit during the so-called taxi the rolling speed direction and the required brake.

A hydrogen-based fuel cell supplies electricity. This is first stored in a battery. Also the resulting energy to be recovered during braking during landing. An example is the KERS technology in formula 1.

EasyJet Planes with Electric Engines and Fuel Cells -
Around 250 machines made by Easy Jet rolling travel 6.5 million kilometers in the year on the airfield. While 50,000 t kerosene is consumed. Electric motors should now ensure that the aircraft without the fossil fuel engines. Photo: Easy Jet

The water in the conversion into electric energy will be used for the water supply on board – for sinks and toilets -.

Technology will be tested this year

The practical testing of the new technology will start according to the Ian Davies of Heads of engineering in this year. Until the system is mature, three to five years will pass according to Davies. Then, the airline wants to move the aircraft manufacturer to do this as standard to incorporate the technology.

EasyJet Planes with Electric Engines and Fuel Cells
Aircraft will roll no longer with the force of the turbines, but by electrically driven supporting engines to the Terminal. Fuel cells could provide the power for it. Photo: DLR

The impetus for the “hybrid”aircraft comes from the UK, specializing in Aeronautical Cranfield Engineering University. You had suggested the technology within the framework of a competition.

But also the German Center for Aerospace is working on solutions to move the aircraft with electric motors on the airfield. Already 2013 of DLR’s engineers have unveiled a system, but with an electric motor in the nose wheel works, but is also powered with electricity from a fuel cell. The water in the on-board system is fed in the DLR system.

But fuel cells are also a way to power electric aircraft. In November 2015, the DLR has unveiled the aircraft HY4. The aircraft has a double hull and is powered by an electric motor with a propeller. The first flight is planned for 2016.