Airplane cabins powered by body heat, planes running on cow power, or methane gas, and luggage floating on a bed of air are some of the ideas developed by university students in a Fly Your Ideas competition sponsored by Airbus.
Airbus challenged students to develop “radical eco-efficient ideas” for aviation.
The planemaker selected five finalist teams. Each team will travel to Airbus headquarters in Toulouse to present their ideas to a panel of judges for the prize.
The winning team will be announced at the Paris Air Show next week.
The program aims to “highlight the growth opportunities available to young innovators, who could help change the world and work towards a more sustainable aviation industry,” Airbus said.
Teams that made the finals came from Brazil, Australia, India, Italy and Malaysia.
According to Airbus, the concepts include:
Luggage floating on air. Using the principles of air hockey, the cargo hold is fitted with light sliding sections to let baggage handlers quickly load and unload luggage, allowing passengers to get their bags 30 percent faster.
Planes powered by cow power. A sustainable fuel uses liquified methane held in specially-created supercooled pods located next to the engine. The solution could reduce CO2 emissions by 97 percent.
Shape-shifting materials to reduce noise. An engine modification made from shape-shifting materials can change the airflow through the engines and reduce noise.
Battery-powered hybrid engines. Rechargeable batteries drop into the cargo hold and help power efficient hybrid engines. In a short-haul flight, the solution could save up to 60 percent of fuel.
Human body heat powering aircraft cabins. Heat energy from specially-embedded heat-sensitive material in cabin seats captures energy from passengers and could be used to power onboard electronics. That can reduce energy requirements for the flight.