EasyJet to trial world's first hydrogen hybrid plane
EasyJet passengers could be served waste water produced by their plane's fuel system, after the airline unveiled plans to trial zero-emission hydrogen technology.
The FTSE 100 carrier is planning to become the first airline in the world to test a so-called hybrid plane, which uses hydrogen fuel cells that could potentially cut the company’s fuel bill by as much as $35m.
The hi-tech fuel system will seek to harness the energy produced by an aircraft’s brakes, which could then be used to power the plane while it is on the ground.
Water is produced as a waste product from the hydrogen cells. Ian Davies, easyJet’s head of engineering, said this water would be so fresh that it could be recycled as drinking water for the airline’s passengers, or used to flush plane toilets.
“This is potentially the freshest, cleanest water,” he said. “It's absolutely pure.”
According to easyJet, if implemented across its fleet, the hybrid systems could save the airline from using approximately 50,000 tonnes of fuel a year.
Some 4pc of easyJet’s fuel is used for taxiing on runways. If all its planes use the new hybrid system instead of their jet engines to move around an airport, the low-cost carrier would cut its fuel bill by between $25m and $35m, depending on the oil price, the airline calculated.
The company plans to test the system, which wil not be powerful enough to propel a plane in flight, later this year.