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Hawaiian Airlines, Rolls Royce Partner on Fuel-efficient Planes

airbusThe aviation industry is working on fuel conservation measures as a key way to reduce carbon emissions and costs with many airlines teaming up with technology partners to develop more fuel-efficient planes. As an example, Hawaiian Airlines, recently partnered with Rolls-Royce, to build a new fleet of fuel-efficient planes, scheduled to launch next year, reports KHNL.com in Honolulu. Hawaiian Airlines is spending $460 million to build fuel-efficient and clean engines.

Rolls-Royce now makes gas turbine engines for civil aircraft engines, defense, naval, marine, energy, and a variety of products including the Trent 700 engine, which will power Hawaiian Airlines’ new fleet of Airbus A-330s, according to the news station.

Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines’ president and CEO, told KHNL that the new airbus will be about three to four percent more fuel efficient than Boeing 767s, which translates to about 700 fewer tons of carbon emissions per aircraft per year.

In other aviation innovation news, wings that redirect air could cut airline fuel bills and emissions by 20 percent, according to research funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Airbus in the UK.

EPSRC says this new approach promises to significantly reduce mid-flight drag by using tiny air-powered jets that redirect the air, making it flow sideways back and forth over the wing.

According to the press release, engineers have known for some time that tiny ridges known as “riblets” can reduce skin-friction drag, which is a major portion of mid-flight drag, by around 5 percent. Dr. Duncan Lockerby, at the University of Warwick, who heads the research project, says the new micro-jet system could reduce skin friction drag by up to 40 percent.

The research is still at the concept stage although the new wings could be ready for trials as early as 2012. If successful this technology could also have a major impact on the aerodynamic design and fuel consumptions of cars, boats and trains, according to EPSRC.

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