06 Aug 2016 14:33 IST

NASA research aims to cut aviation fuel use by half

Tech concept can potentially reduce emissions by 75 per cent

NASA has zeroed in on five green technology concepts that have the potential to transform the aviation industry in the next decade by reducing aircraft fuel use by half, and emissions by 75 per cent.

The concepts were selected under NASA’s Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Programme for a two-year study, the US space agency said in a statement on Saturday.

The five concepts are alternative fuel cells, using 3-D printing to increase electric motor output, using lithium-air batteries for energy storage, new mechanisms for changing the shape of an aircraft wing in flight, and the use of a lightweight material called aerogel in the design and development of aircraft antenna.

These five concepts, apart from addressing NASA’s green aviation initiatives to cut fuel use by half and lower harmful emissions by 75 percent, also significantly reduce aircraft noise.

“There definitely was an emphasis in our selections on bringing forward activities that addressed a NASA aeronautics goal to reduce the carbon footprint of aviation during the 21st century,” said programme manager Doug Rohn.

Though there can be no guarantee the studies will result in deployable technologies, given the novelty of the concepts, researchers are confident that much critical data and information will be gleaned from the studies that will inform future green aviation concepts and research efforts.