Student Teams Compete for Airbus Prize

Teams from Australia, Brazil, India, Italy and Malaysia have arrived in Toulouse to make their final presentations in Airbus's UNESCO-sponsored Fly Your Ideas student challenge.

They will pitch ideas ranging for methane-fueled airliners to passenger seats that capture body heat to generate energy. At stake is a €30,000 first prize and €15,000 for the runners-up.

The competition was last held in 2011, when a team from China's Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics won with a ground-based wind power generation system that used the wakes of aircraft during take-off and landing.

This year's finalists are:

Australia - Team CLiMA, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Their project is a cryogenic liquid methane aircraft fueled by a blend of liquified biomethane and liquified natural gas, stored in insulated wing tanks and supplying both the propulsion engines and fuel cells, for lower CO2 emissions.


Brazil - Team Levar, Unversity of Sao Paulo. Their concept is for fast loading and unloading of aircraft luggage compartments using an air-cushion sliding cargo system inspired by air-hockey tables.


India - Team AVAS, SRM University. Their proposal involves reducing engine noise by modifying jet exhaust shape using shape-memory alloys energized by electricity harvested from engine heat using thermoelectric materials.

Italy - Team Flybrid, Technical University of Milan. Their concept is a regional airliner with electric-boosted hybrid turboprop propulsion, using batteries that are pre-charged on the ground, and not recharged in flight.

Malaysia - Team Embarker, Universiti Putra Malaysia
. They propose a self-sustaining aircraft cabin concept in which body heat from seated passengers is used as a source of energy to power small electronics in the cabin. The technology includes a carbon-nanotube/polymer composite seat.


The winner will be announced on June 14, on the eve of the Paris air show. This Airbus video animation reveals a bit more about how the five concepts would work.

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