Case in point, the UK-based airline EasyJet has just announced that they are embarking on a 12-month test of a new nanocoating that when applied to the exterior of their planes could reduce fuel consumption by as much as 2%.
When your annual fuel bill is £730m (nearly US$1.2 billion), then that 2% can mean a savings of £14m (approximately US$22.4 million). Suddenly a coating becomes interesting, doesn’t it?
After coating an entire aircraft it only adds 4oz (113g) to the total weight of the plane, which, when compared to the 80kg (176 pounds) that regular paint adds to the weight of a plane, gives you an indication of how thin this nanocoating is.
The nanocoating basically fills in all the pits and crevices that exist within the paint on a microscopic scale, which ensures that no debris or dirt builds on the surface.
art From Lebanon, joined Feb 2005, 3148 posts, RR: 0 Reply 1, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 1933 times:
What does it cost? If airlines are prepared to pay $millions for winglets to save 2%/3%/4% on fuel burn, this sounds like it could be a very viable fuel saver. Possible snags: cost / needs to be re-applied often / anything else?
VV701 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 7037 posts, RR: 17 Reply 3, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1671 times:
If I am reading the article correctly the nano-coating is applied over the conventional paint job slightly increasing the weight of the aircraft. But it reduces the dirt that sticks to the aircraft and hence the aircraft ends up by being lighter and more aerodynamically 'clean' than it would have been without the coating reducing fuel consumption over time. Perhaps a good, regular wash might be an alternative and possibly lower cost option?
I also note that the nanao-coating has been in use on American war planes for some time. If 2 per cent reductions in fuel consumption are more or less guaranteed why has the coating not been used by an American airline before this time?
But hopefully my scepticism is misplaced and the U2 experiment will be successful. Then AF can use it and their planes will look a lot better.