After decades of fossil fuel-powered jets, advances in materials, battery chemistry, and electrical systems are opening up the possibility of cleaner, greener, cheaper commercial flight.
But electrification requires plane makers to innovate, invest, work hard, and win the weight race. A recent Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre event discussed the pressing issues.
A quiet revolution is underway that could change the face of air travel for billions of passengers around the world.
The familiar roar of kerosene-fuelled jet engines at take-off and landing may one day be replaced by battery powered propulsion, with travellers flying in aircraft developed through generative designs and built with ultra-lightweight materials.
This was one of the key messages at a recent two-day conference on lightweighting organised by the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).
Delegates heard that the dream of electric flight – which once seemed confined to smaller aircraft flying short distances – is now being led by the big players in the industry who are fast advancing plans for hybridised and fully electric flight.