Photo: Mary Paulose under a Creative Commons license.
Air travel may be time efficient, but based on planes' carbon emissions, it's not good for the environment. And while purchasing carbon offsets is a good move, it's just a drop in the bucket. Tha's why Google has teamed up with aircraft technology research group the CAFE Foundation to sponsor the NASA Centennial Challenge competition, called the Green Flight Challenge.
The more than $1 million first place prize will go to the team that designs the aircraft that best shows that the emission-free flight is not only possible, it's practical.13 teams are competing for the largest ever prize in civilian aviation. The challenge: design an aircraft prototype than can fly 200 miles in under two hours, and achieve the equivalent 1 gallon of gasoline per passenger. Seven of the entered planes are electric; the rest run on diesel, ethanol, bio-fuel or a hybrid system.
The winning team will take home $1.3m and the four runners-up will also receive cash prizes. Awards will also be given for a bio-fuel entry as well as for the quietest aircraft. The Green Flight Challenge is set for September 25 to October 3, to take place at the CAFE Foundation Flight Test Center at Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, California.
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More on the future of green flight:
This is What Zero-Carbon Flying Looks Like (Video)
Blimps Could Replace Airplanes in 10 Years, Scientist Says
Sky's the Limit: SkySpark 100% Electric Airplane Sets New Speed Record