Toulouse, France -MOL  -

Planes powered by cow flatulence, luggage that floats on air and planes that harness passenger body heat could all one day be a possibility - if the engineers of tomorrow get their way. 

These are some of the shortlisted entries of the global Airbus’ Fly Your Ideas competition - created to find eco-efficient ways that aviators can develop their fleets of planes in the future. Each team will now present its ideas to a panel of Airbus judges in Toulouse for a chance of winning £255,000 (€30,000).

The shortlisted entry from Team Levar in Brasil was floating luggage. Using the principles of air hockey tables, the Brasillian entry involved retro-fitting a plane’s cargo hold with ‘super-light sliding sections’.

The sections would blow air that would make the cargo and luggage hover slightly off the ground. This would help airport workers to quickly, easily and safely load and unload luggage.  Team Levar claim the technology could help passengers get their bags 30 per cent faster.

The technology could also be fitted to the inside of planes to reduce the weight caused by the luggage in the hold, which in turn could reduce the amount of fuel used.

Planes powered by cows, or more specifically, cow flatulence was submitted by Team CLiMA from Australia. The plans would create a sustainable fuel that puts liquefied methane gas into ‘specially-created supercooled pods’ that sit next to the engines.

The team claim this solution could reduce CO2 emissions by 97 per cent. Team Avas from India put forwarded the idea of a shape-shifting engine that would help reduce noise.

The materials move and change shape when an electric current is applied to them. The team explained that the plans would involve ‘a simple engine modification made from special shape-shifting materials can change airflow through the engine’. By changing the airflow, the amount of noise created by plane engines could be reduced.

The battery-powered hybrid engines, from Italian Team Flybrid, would use rechargeable batteries  fitted to the cargo hold. They would help the engine run on a mix of battery power and fuel and make the planes more power efficient.