Australian team competes in Airbus ideas competition with low-emission jet fuel
- by: Margaret Wenham
- From: The Courier-Mail
- June 13, 2013 8:45AM
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BRIGHT IDEA: The new A350 Airbus long-haul carrier does a taxiing test at the aérodrome of Toulouse-Blagnac. AFP PHOTO / ERIC CABANIS Source: AFP
FIVE Australian students have challenged European aviation giant Airbus to consider a quantum leap to a future featuring sustainable bio-methane fuelled airliners.
Flown to France this week by Airbus for the finals of the company’s prestigious Fly Your Ideas aviation design competition aimed at university students, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology team yesterday made their final presentation to a panel of industry experts at Airbus’ Toulouse headquarters.
Their proposition is for a combination of LNG and sustainable bio-methane, dubbed Bio-LNG, to replace JetA1 fuel, which has the potential to reduce emissions by up to 97 per cent, depending on the mix, and slash airlines’ operating costs.
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The aerospace engineering students, led by 21-year-old Luke Spiteri, also produced modelling to support the modification of existing aircraft wing tanks and the addition of underwing fuel pods to accommodate the cryogenic fuel.
“We’re very happy with how we went,” Spiteri said. “It’s now down to the judges.
“But just to be here is so rewarding. This has been an unforgettable experience.”
The group, also including Mark Spiteri, Katherine Gregoriou, Martin Burston – all 21 – and James Herringer, 24, now have to wait until Friday to see if they have beaten the four other groups from Brazil, India, Malaysia and Italy who made the finals of the competition with its 30,000 euro prizemoney.
More than 8000 students making up 618 teams from 82 countries entered this year’s competition.
Dr Graham Dorrington, the RMIT team’s academic supervisor, said if Airbus really wanted to hear about potentially “disruptive” technology – radical ideas which challenged the status quo – then he believed the RMIT students had provided it.
“If Airbus takes notice the future (of aviation) is secure,”he said.
“And what I really want is for companies back home like Woodside to take note. If we can get the industry mobilised in Australia we can be ahead of the game and there’s a lot of bloody good people working in LNG in Australia.”
Spiteri said his parents, John and Margaret of Albany Creek, were excited the team had made it as far as they had.
“They are thrilled,” he said. “They know how much work we’ve put in over the past seven months.”
The winning team will be announced at a ceremony held on Friday at UNESCO in Paris.