Aviation could be going green, with a little help from NASA

It's a truck. It's a plane. No, it's NASA's latest project that might bring low-carbon aviation to life. Housed at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, the LeapTech project, at first glance, appears like nothing more than a truck with a 30-foot airplane wing attached to it. The difference is that this new wing feature 18 electric motors instead of large fuel-burning engines.

According to NASA's website: "The Leading Edge Asynchronous Propeller Technology (LEAPTech) project will test the premise that tighter propulsion-airframe integration, made possible with electric power, will deliver improved efficiency and safety, as well as environmental and economic benefits. Over the next several months, NASA researchers will perform ground testing of a 31-foot-span, carbon composite wing section with 18 electric motors powered by lithium iron phosphate batteries."

"Each motor can be operated independently at different speeds for optimized performance. Key potential benefits of LEAPTech include decreased reliance on fossil fuels, improved aircraft performance and ride quality, and aircraft noise reduction."

To learn more, read “Rethinking the Airplane, for Climate’s Sake” from The New York Times.