[France] A French company is planning to fly a ‘zero-emission’ plane in a transatlantic trip powered by algae and solar energy.
Founder and pilot Raphaël Dinelli will travel for more than 60 hours next June in an ultra-light electric craft powered by biofuel and solar panels.
And if the Paris to New York test flight is successful, Laboratoire Océan Vital will develop a larger commercial version that could carry passengers on the 3,625-mile (5,835km) trip.
The plane, called Eraole, is conceived as a hybrid.
Around 55 per cent of its engine’s power comes from a special fuel the company developed from microalgae, while solar cells lining the craft’s wings will provide an additional 25 per cent and the remaining 20 per cent will be pure gliding.
Take-off and landing will be further aided by two lithium batteries.
The company – which has spent seven years on the project – claims the flight will produce zero emissions.
However, the majority of biofuels produce some amount of greenhouse gases.
In any case, Eraole’s emission impact will be lower than any regular commercial flight on the Paris-New York route.
An airliner’s round-trip between America and Europe adds on average two to three tons of carbon dioxide to every passenger’s carbon footprint, for example.
Aviation is thought to make up 11 per cent of CO2 emissions from transportation, and 2 per cent of all world emissions.
But while being more environmentally friendly, the biofuelled trip will last about ten times as long as a commercial flight.
It will also be twice as long as Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis Paris-New York trip -almost 90 years ago – lasted ‘just’ 30.5 hours.
Mr Dinelli will have to spend two days and a half in the compact single-seat plane, with no auto- or co-pilot, time to sleep or room for moving his legs.
The super-light plane’s cabin is not even pressurised, which means the air Mr Dinelli will breathe is going to contain up to 30 per cent less oxygen than usual.
Eraole’s flight bid comes one year after a totally solar-power craft – Swiss experimental plane Solar Impulse – broke the world record for longest nonstop solo flight, just short of 120 hours.
The plane, which has been grounded in Hawaii since last year,will try to complete global circumnavigation next April.
Photo: A French company is planning to fly a ‘zero-emission’ plane in a transatlantic trip powered by algae and solar energy. The electric plane, called Eraole, is powered by special algae biofuel and solar panels on its wings. A concept image of the plane is illustrated
View original article at: The plane fuelled by algae: Zero-carbon Eraole craft is set to fly across the Atlantic