US technology firm Honeywell (NYSE: HON) and French jet engine maker Safran (NYSE: SAF) said they have completed the first major phase of testing of their electric green taxiing system, and will make the first public demonstration of the technology during the 50th International Paris Air Show held at Le Bourget Airport from June 17-23, 2013.
The technology will be installed on an Airbus A320 aircraft, the firms said.
Developed by EGTS International, a joint venture between Honeywell and Safran launched in 2011, the EGTS technology enables aircraft to avoid using their main engines during taxiing and instead taxi autonomously under their own electrical power.
Similar to a hybrid car using electrical power at slow speeds, EGTS will improve airline operating efficiency during taxi operations and cut fuel consumption by up to four percent per flight cycle.
EGTS will also provide environmental benefits by reducing noise and carbon and nitrogen oxide emissions during taxi operations, and will reduce gate and tarmac congestion, improve on-time departure, and allow passengers to deplane faster as a result of smoother ground handling operations. EGTS continues to gain strong interest from airports and airlines ahead of its expected introduction to the market in 2016.
Because an aircraft´s main engines are optimized for flying rather than taxiing, they burn a disproportionate amount of fuel during ground operations. With a short- or medium-range aircraft spending up to 2.5 hours of its time on taxiways every day, EGTS could save approximately 600 kilograms of fuel used during taxiing from being consumed daily, according to Honeywell and Safran estimates.
EGTS allows aircraft to push back autonomously and then taxi between gate and runway without engaging the main engines by using the auxiliary power unit generator to power electric motors in the main landing gear.
Each of an EGTS-equipped aircraft´s powered wheels is fitted with a control system, giving pilots total control of the aircraft´s speed and direction during taxi operations. In addition to reduced fuel burn, the system will also generate further savings by reducing engine and brake wear and minimizing the risk of damage to engine turbines from foreign objects on the tarmac.
The initial development of EGTS to date has mobilized more than 200 engineers working in 13 Safran and Honeywell facilities around the world. The component system and aircraft testing program has accumulated more than 3,000 hours of testing on seven bespoke testing benches and rigs, including on-ground maneuvers in Toulouse, France, on an A320 modified by the joint venture for the EGTS development program.
Find out more at www.aerospace.honeywell.com and www.safran-group.com.