Friday 30 September 2016

EasyJet could give passengers water created from hydrogen batteries

Published 02/02/2016 | 00:11

Handout graphic showing the easyJet hybrid energy system (easyJet /PA)
Handout graphic showing the easyJet hybrid energy system (easyJet /PA)

Passengers with a low-cost airline could be served water created as a waste product from hydrogen batteries under plans for a zero emissions fuel system .

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Budget airline easyJet made the claim as it unveiled designs for a hybrid plane which could be trialled later this year.

The concept would involve storing a hydrogen fuel cell in the aircraft's hold. E nergy captured as the brakes are deployed during landing would then power the jet when it is on the ground, similar to the kinetic energy recovery system used in Formula One.

Ian Davies, easyJet's head of engineering, said the water produced as a waste product from the batteries would be discarded or reused.

Asked whether it would be served to passengers, he replied: "I think we could reuse the water. It's absolutely pure. Why would we throw water away when it's absolutely pure?"

Mr Davies said it could be used for drinking and flushing toilets.

He added: "This is potentially the freshest, cleanest water."

EasyJet estimates that around 4% of its fuel consumption is used when its aircraft are taxiing. The airline hopes hybrid planes could save around 50,000 tonnes of fuel for its fleet each year. This is equivalent to around 25 million to 35 million US dollars (£17 million to £24 million).

The system is being developed in partnership with Cranfield University in Bedfordshire.

Mr Davies, speaking in Venice at the launch of easyJet's latest base, said : "At easyJet we are continuing to apply the use of new digital and engineering technologies across the airline.

"The hybrid plane concept we are announcing today is both a vision of the future and a challenge to our partners and suppliers to continue to push the boundaries towards reducing our carbon emissions."

EasyJet hopes to launch the hybrid plane within the next decade.

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