UVA Students Taking Energy Efficiency to New Heights
A team of 16 undergraduate students at the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science earned a well-deserved honor this summer in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Electric/Hybrid-Electric Aircraft Technology Challenge. Competing against teams from some of the world’s best engineering schools — including graduate programs — the UVA team designed a model for a regional aircraft that reduces emissions, noise and fuel burn compared to today’s regional aircraft.
Their model won first place, tying with a graduate student team from the prestigious aerospace program at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
UVA’s winning design, called the “Sustinere: A Turboelectric Distributed Propulsion Regional Jet,” is a 50-passenger hybrid-electric aircraft fueled by lithium-polymer batteries and an internal combustion engine (ICE). The lithium batteries would power the plane during take-off and landing, while ICE would power the plane during flight. The plane was designed to hit a Mach speed of 0.72 for 500 miles and to be in service by 2025.
The team’s success demonstrates Virginia’s commitment and passion for energy efficiency. They will receive their first place prize in FAA’s Washington, D.C. headquarters.
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