What’s green and carbon friendly to operate … is “whisper quiet” … can carry 70 passengers through the sky … and hardly use any fuel?
According to a British firm that unveiled the concept, it will be the largest commercial hybrid plane in the world.
The 70-seater “hybrid electric regional aircraft” (HERA) designed by the Electric Aviation Group (EAG), a Bristol-based engineering and development firm, will feature reduced noise pollution and airborne battery regeneration, The Daily Mail reported.
It’s a hybrid passenger plane – meaning it’s powered partly by an environmentally-friendly electric engine and partly by conventional jet fuel – with a range of 920 miles (800 nm).
According to the company, that range will be extended to 1,381 miles (1,200 nm) beyond 2030, as battery energy density improves, The Daily Mail reported.
The HERA aircraft, which will be in service by 2028, will create job opportunities in the aerospace, manufacturing and engineering industries post-Brexit, EAG said.
“Significant investments have been raised to develop sub-19 seat hybrid and all-electric aircraft which we believe is the wrong strategy,” said Kamran Iqbal, founder and CEO at EAG.
“These small planes cannot meet the demands of mass air transportation or the requirements of decarbonization.
“We will be a first mover in what is a US$4.4 trillion market.”
EAG said it has already developed and filed a total of 25 patents for the aircraft, which is still in the developmental phase, The Daily Mail reported.
Thanks to its hybrid engine, the craft has a 70% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions per passenger over a one-kilometre distance, The Daily Mail reported.
HERA cuts typical emissions of Earth-warming nitrogen oxides, which form when oxygen and nitrogen from the air interact during the high-temperature combustion events, by 90%, while noise pollution is also reduced by 65%.
The company intends to assemble a flight demonstrator aircraft based on an existing Bombardier Dash 7 or Dash 8 twin-turboprop, in order to evaluate its planned propulsion system, AINonline reported.
It expects to start flight tests with the aircraft within the next four years before building the airframe for the HERA.
EAG estimates that it will need $5 billion to get the HERA into series production. The company is looking to raise capital through a mix of government funding and private sector investors.
EAG said the aircraft will also feature what it calls Gear Assisted Takeoff Run (GATOR) technology to support its unspecified short takeoff capability while reducing energy requirements.