WheelTug drives green aviation
WheelTug plc reported today that new analysis shows that its on-board electric drive system for aircraft will provide greater environmental benefits than previously expected.
Aircraft using the WheelTug system for taxiing to and from runways and to move around gate areas will sharply reduce both pollution and noise at airports.
Compared to a typical dual-engine taxi, ground emissions of carbon dioxide by a Boeing 737NG will be reduced by over 650 kg for a typical flight. WheelTug will also enable a reduction in fuel consumed during taxiing for such flights by over 200 kg, or more than 65%.
The studies are based on data from: FAA ASPM; the ICAO Engine Exhaust Emissions Databank; FAA’s EDMS modeling tool; and EPA Publication R-99-007.
The WheelTug aircraft drive system is designed around twin high-torque Chorus motors integrated with the aircraft's two nosewheels. It enables aircraft to back away from gates without using a tow tug, and to taxi to and from runways without using the engines. This will result in fuel savings, reduced emissions, and reduced engine damage from ingestion of ground objects (FOD).
The system is projected to produce significant savings for airlines in direct operating costs, maintenance and damage repair, as well as enabling faster gate turnarounds and greater schedule reliability.
'We are very pleased to see that WheelTug will be such a substantial contributor to green aviation,' noted Isaiah W Cox, president of WheelTug. 'We are also pleased to be working with the first generation of WheelTug test motors designed for the 737NG wheel. Testing of these motors is about to commence at our development facility.'
The WheelTug system enables pilots to keep the aircraft's main engines turned off until just before takeoff. It uses electricity generated by the aircraft's auxiliary power unit (APU), which produces the electric power to run WheelTug as well as the aircraft's other electrical systems.
WheelTug will first be used as a retrofit solution on Boeing 737NG aircraft. Subsequently the system will be developed for new installation or retrofit on a range of other aircraft including narrow-bodies, business and regional jets, and certain military aircraft and helicopters.