Author Topic: Electric wheels could save airlines billions of dollars in fuel expenses  (Read 312 times)

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Offline Cincinnatus

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Technological developments like this are always so very impressive.

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Did you know that, annually speaking, airlines burn through tons upon tons (upon tons) of fuel taxiing from the boarding gate to the runway?

That’s because today’s jet liners have only the main engines they use for propulsion on board. As a result, the added operating expense for traveling this relatively minor distance is about $1.1 billion.

Thanks to modern-day technology, though, there IS a solution: the WheelTug e-taxi system from Borealis Exploration Limited.

Basically, what you’re looking at above is an induction motorized ground propulsion system mounted to the nosewheel of the plane. All things considered, it’s pretty small. It’s less than five inches in diameter and weighs close to 300 pounds. But this tiny piece of technology has a lot of pull to it: the system can produce 6,000 kN of force, way more than what’s necessary to push a 200,000-pound 737 from gate to runway.

The idea of putting an on-board electric drive system on aircraft is not new, since there are so many clear advantages," Isaiah Cox, WheelTug President and CEO, said in a statement. "But until recently there was no electric motor technology with the capability to produce the required high torque for its small size, weight and safety profile to make it possible."

Worth noting is that the motor is in no way, shape, or form connected to this plane system. Instead, it’s powered by the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit. This means the plane’s flight crew need only rev up the main engines when ready for takeoff, thereby saving fuel, time, maintenance, and, perhaps most important, money.

"We believe on-board electric motors have a great many advantages," added Bob Carman, Chorus Motors' WheelTug program manager. "They could reduce the need for ground tugs and their associated costs, allow faster flight turnarounds and increased fuel efficiency per trip, and reduce airplane noise and emissions at airports, to name just a few advantages."

The WheelTug e-taxi system is expected to reduce the cost of each aircraft by approximately $500,000 a year, or roughly $700 per flight (no word on whether the airlines will be passing on those savings to the customers in the form of reduced ticket fees and free baggage checks).

Check out the WheelTug system in action in the video below. It’s been in the works for a while now, but the group’s first wheel (designed for the Boeing 737NG) has just entered service with El Al airlines.


Neat.

http://www.electronicproducts.com/Electromechanical_Components/Motors_and_Controllers/Electric_wheels_could_save_airlines_billions_of_dollars_in_fuel_expenses.aspx
We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid ~~ Samuel Adams

Offline Oceander

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very neat

What about spinning up the tires prior to landing?  When a plane lands there's usually a spurt of smoke from the tires as they hit the tarmac.  That has to put a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on the tires (not to mention a lot of fine rubber particles in the air).  I've always wondered if one could spin the tires up to more or less match the ground speed, would that make any significant difference to the amount of wear on the tires.

Offline Cincinnatus

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That has to put a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on the tires...

And the runways themselves.

Anyone else recall Robert White and The Duck Book?

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1986-01-14/lifestyle/0190170070_1_duck-book-publishing-a-magazine-socialist-welfare

He made his fortune dealing with the issue of cleaning runway skid marks.

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He eventually held onto several million dollars -- he declined to be more specific -- earned from his invention of a machine to clean tire skid marks off airport runways.


White was quite a character.
We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid ~~ Samuel Adams

Offline Oceander

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That has to put a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on the tires...

And the runways themselves.

Anyone else recall Robert White and The Duck Book?

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1986-01-14/lifestyle/0190170070_1_duck-book-publishing-a-magazine-socialist-welfare

He made his fortune dealing with the issue of cleaning runway skid marks.

White was quite a character.


I'm sorry, but the juvenile in me can't help giggling about cleaning up "skid marks."


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