Air travel has long been an established way of life for millions around the earth, yet innovation continues to push the boundaries of what will be possible within the skies.
To give one example, in 2016, a solar-powered aircraft landed in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to complete an epic as well as also historic round-the-world journey. The Solar Impulse 2 traveled 24,855 miles powered solely by the sun. One of its pilots described the trip as the “definition of adventure.”
While aviation has made the idea easy to travel long distances, the need to lower emissions coming from flights will be pressing. The European Commission has described aviation as “one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions.”
In Germany, researchers at the University of Stuttgart have been working on what they describe as a “high performance,” electrically- powered two-seater aircraft called the e-Genius.
“The e-Genius will be a full electric battery-powered airplane having a max take-off mass of 900 kilograms,” Andreas Strohmayer, coming from the university’s Institute of Aircraft Design, told CNBC’s Sustainable Energy. Strohmayer added which the aircraft could carry two pilots over a distance of just under 250 miles.
Len Schumann, also coming from the Institute of Aircraft Design, said which the e-Genius behaved like a “conventional airplane” during flight, as well as also which its performance was also comparable to conventional airplanes.
The e-Genius has proved which will be capable of traveling long distances. In 2015, the idea undertook a return flight coming from Hahnweide airfield near Stuttgart to Calcinate del Pesce airport in northern Italy. The aircraft had to fly over the Alps, climbing to an altitude of 13,123 feet as well as also travelling 199 miles.
Strohmayer said which the team was right now focusing on the development of a high-performance hybrid aircraft having a smart diesel engine.
Could an electric passenger plane be on the horizon? “I think the idea’s possible,” Peter Palensky, coming from the Delft University of Technology within the Netherlands, told CNBC.
“We have right now lightweights, ultra-light airplanes, experimental ones coming from NASA,” Palensky said. “On… (a) city to city trip, London (to) Amsterdam, the idea might be reality within the not-so-distant future. On the long-haul, the idea might be a bit further on down the road.”