Green energy businessman Dale Vince has revealed plans to build the UK’s first electric airline. Ecojet will repurpose conventional aircraft to fly on hydrogen power and plans to start domestic flights as early as 2025.
Norfolk-born Dale Vince, founder and owner of renewable energy company Ecotricity, teamed up with experienced pilot Brent Smith and aviation experts to create Ecojet.
The company intends to get the airline operational as soon as possible, so the first flight between Southampton and Edinburgh next year will use unmodified aircraft running on kerosene-based fuel, while it is seeking approval from the Civil Aviation Authority for hydrogen-electric powertrains.
“It does feel like an oxymoron, but the core of this project is about upcycling existing aircraft and retrofitting them,” Vince told us protector. “It’s a pragmatic approach, which means we’re not wasting time. We’re going to build the infrastructure, get the planes in the air and replace the engines when they become available.”
Flights to continental Europe are also planned, with later expansion to further afield. Retrofits of Ecojet’s 19- and 70-seat aircraft will begin in 2025, and The Guardian also reported that on-board hydrogen tanks will be filled with hydrogen produced using renewable energy.
“Following the modification, the aircraft will operate at the same power output as before, but with 100 percent less CO2 emissions,” reads the press release. Water produced as a by-product of the process will be captured and released at lower altitudes.
To further reduce Ecojet’s environmental impact, the company intends to serve customers only plant-based in-flight meals, pledges to use no single-use plastics and will have employees wear eco-friendly uniforms. No more information is available, but other companies are investigating hydrogen as a fuel for green aviation, including Airbus, ZeroAvia and Rolls-Royce.
“The question of how to create sustainable air travel has plagued the green movement for decades, and the Ecojet is the most important step toward a solution to date,” said Vince. “The desire to travel is deeply rooted in the human psyche , and CO2-free flights powered by renewable energy will allow us to explore our incredible world for the first time without harming it.”
source: Ecological attitude