Researchers working on windowless planes to save fuel and cut emissions

28 Oct 2014


With over 832 thousand litres of fuel burnt and 700 million tonnes of carbon dioxide released into the environment each year due to air travel, researchers are constantly looking for ways to lower the industry's carbon footprint, The Guardian reported.

In a novel approach, researchers are now developing a  windowless plane, replacing the heavy windows and cabin walls of current planes with lightweight full-length smart displays.

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) in the UK, the company behind the innovative design said, 80 per cent of an airliner's weight was due to fuel and the plane itself, so elimination of windows could save on running costs.

The Guardian quoted Jon Helliwell, a chemist and director of the CPI, to say by putting windows into a plane, the fuselage needed to be strengthened, and by omitting them in favour of walls of screens on panels, the fuselage would be lighter.

The technology would allow windows to be replaced with hi-definition, ultra-thin and lightweight screens that displayed the outside world through cameras mounted on the plane's exterior. It would be possible for passengers to control their view with the interactive technology, or use the display to browse the internet.

Meanwhile, according to Mashable the concept of windowless aircrafts with displays was not entirely new. A Paris-based company had a similar project under development, and there was also a design being developed for a windowless jet.

The plane would use OLED screens (a high-end, thin-film display technology) with protective coatings made to preserve the displays for its lifetime.

The technology would allow passengers to see and set their screen to show a live stream of outside surroundings from a completely different portion of the plane.

According to CPI, the technology would allow for thinner plane walls that would also be more lightweight and stronger than at present.

CPI said the development could mean less costly flights for consumers. According to its calculations, 1 per cent weight reduction makes for a 0.75 per cent savings in fuel cost, so the passenger, manufacturer and the airline would save money.

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