Animals have long-inspired innovative engineering designs
as they’ve evolved perfectly, as nature intended. This provides the ideal
solution to environmental challenges, something European manufacturer, Airbus, hopes
to achieve as they revealed a brand new concept hybrid-electric aircraft.
Liam Fox, UK Secretary of State for International
Trade, unveiled the “Bird of Prey” concept at the Royal International
Air Tattoo air show last month. At first glance, it is evident that this new
hybrid-electric aircraft got its inspiration eagles, hawks and other aerial
predators. Airbus revealed this new concept aircraft with the intention of
inspiring the next-generation of aeronautical engineers.
Considering the rapid advancements in technology, it’s
easy to forget some of the revolutionary inventions of the 20th
century. Some of these inventions have resulted in products or services we take
for granted today.
Many emerging technologies can be attributed to one,
or several, earlier inventions. A prime example of an obsolete technology that
has transformed the modern world is cathode ray tube monitors. While it was
prominent in earlier years, they were quickly replaced when LCD and plasma
screens were invented.
Aviation connects the world by continuously transporting
people and goods across the globe in no time at all. While it may appear
efficient, climate change has become a clear topic of debate in society due to
a concern over plane emissions.
Large manufacturers in aerospace and aviation are investing
more in sustainability as emission targets are increasing. A bold move by Rolls-Royce
buying the electric aerospace arm of Siemens clearly shows this intent. In
fact, this acquisition could speed up electrification in the aviation sector.
A flying taxi is once again taking centre stage as
Alaka’i Technologies have developed the Skai prototype. It is a hydrogen-powered
eVTOL flying taxi with an impressive 400-mile range that can comfortably seat
five passengers. What’s more is that they are actually in the process of getting
FAA certification which means it could be in our skies sooner than we think.
Considered as the world’s first real hybrid airplane,
the Faradair BEHA (Bio-Electric-Hybrid-Aircraft) is a “triple box-wing design
concept”. It’s a clever combination of electric motors and a bio-diesel engine
fitted with several energy saving and recovery technologies. This includes solar
panels on all flight surfaces and high-lift, low-speed flight capabilities.
The concept was first realised back in 2014 when UK
firm, Faradair, proposed a Bio-Electric-Hybrid-Aircraft (BEHA). They have now announced
that their plans are in place for a small BEHA airliner. The hybrid aircraft
could be ready to take flight in 2025 as one of the world’s most
environmentally friendly airplanes.