Show Time | 4th July 2020
Source / India Times
The turbojet engine on an aircraft consumes a ton of fuel and generates a massive amount of energy which also results in massive amounts of pollution to enter our environment.
According to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, aviation produced 2.4 percent of total CO2 emissions in 2018.
Now you might be wondering like cars have switched to electric power and made the commute more eco-friendly, why can’t the same be translated for a jet engine?
Reported first by Futurism, engineers from Wuhan University have developed a prototype jet engine that has the ability to propel itself without using fossil fuels like a conventional jet engine. Instead, it makes use of compressed air that it ionises with microwaves (using electricity) to generate plasma to generate thrust.
Researchers demonstrated this by launching a kilogram of steel ball 25 millimetres in the air, which actually is the same thrust proportional to scale as a regular jet engine.
Jau Tang, lead researcher of the study said in a statement, “Our results demonstrated that such a jet engine based on microwave air plasma can be a potentially viable alternative to the conventional fossil fuel jet engine.”
He added, “The motivation of our work is to help solve the global warming problems owing to humans’ use of fossil fuel combustion engines to power machinery, such as cars and airplanes. There is no need for fossil fuel with our design, and therefore, there is no carbon emission to cause greenhouse effects and global warming.”
Even though the proof of concept works, there is still a long way to go as aircraft don’t weigh a kilogram, but thousands of kilograms. And the challenge of having a portable power source to power thrusts enough to lift off an aircraft with passengers and baggage still persists. Fossil fuels store a ton of energy in them, batteries cannot really do that.