Russia Considers Replacing Jet Fuel with Sunlight
Plans to integrate renewable and green energy technologies in the aviation industry are now fairly widespread. For instance, there’s the previous report here about Boeing’s hybrid jet.
The Russians, also planning an entirely new “green airplane” strategy of their own, has recently revealed their intentions to build solar powered aircraft and other kinds of green flying machines. And no, this is not the small ones that are only made for demonstrative purposes, but real aviation industry-standard aircraft that does not use a single drop of conventional jet fuel.
The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade (Minpromtorg) is now taking several serious steps to look into the possible use of alternative energy sources for their civilian aircraft industry. There will be of course a wide variety of points to consider, though one of the most notable researches involved in this study is the search for a way to integrate solar energy efficiently on aircraft.
The expansion of the aircraft industry is indeed just like an other industry; it is an endeavor in improving infrastructure, as well as increasing resources. Because of this, we can assume that it would also take a cumulative, or a bigger amount of fuel budget compensate for the growing industry. The ministry have expressed their intent to expand the industry without the need to rely on conventional fuels. This was the inspiration that sparked the study, though according to the ministry, this can also be largely considered as a way to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, thus consequently helping reduce carbon emissions.
Research into solar powered aircraft is not new in Russia. Just a few years ago, they have embarked on a previous research project that looks into potential of solar energy in aircraft. The project was headed by the Russia’s Ministry of Defense, and they had hoped to use the technology to develop light, energy-free aircraft. The results of the project however were unsatisfactory, and it was indefinitely halted last 2010.
As it is basically still at the proposal stage, the new project actually has no solid drafts or designs for the new applied green technologies yet. However they do plan to make every bit of their funds count for the study. According to the report, a total of 628 million rubles (20.6 million USD) has already been appropriated for the study.
The result of the project is scheduled to be presented in 2015. If there are economically feasible ideas and concepts that can be further drafted, they would then be shared with Russia’s aviation companies for possible practical use.
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