• Question: I asked about the eco jet engines so wouldn't it be possible to have a turbine on the plane that could use the momentum of the plane as it moves through the wind to turn it and generate more energy?

    Asked by Matthew to Iona on 21 Jun 2016.
    • Photo: Iona Strawson

      Iona Strawson answered on 21 Jun 2016:

      Hi Matthew,

      That’s an interesting idea, and I would think it may be possible up to a point. The issue I think would be that to generate that energy would add resistance to the movement of the turbine. It would have to work harder to overcome the force of the device used to drive the generator, like a flywheel. This isn’t an issue when pedalling a bike but when you are 30,000ft in the air you don’t want to add anything that might affect the performance of the turbine. Also, the generator, etc would add additional weight to the plane, and weight is a crucial factor in aeroplane design.

      I think its an interesting concept, and someone may well have developed something – this isn’t really my area. My thoughts would be that more efficient engines or something more sustainable like biofuel is where the aerospace industry will look.

      One major contributor to CO2 output that is often overlooked is the shipping industry. It contributes more CO2 to the atmosphere than planes. A sustainable fuel or better engines, alternative sources of power has the potential to have a huge impact.

      What do you think?