iOS app Android app More

Google And NASA Team Up For Green Flight Challenge

The Huffington Post    
First Posted: 08/04/11 08:07 PM ET Updated: 10/04/11 06:12 AM ET

Google loves a good challenge. So does NASA.

Turning aviation green is quite the challenge.

Google is joining NASA and the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency Foundation (CAFE) in sponsoring the Green Flight Challenge -- a competition to develop cleaner air travel.

Contestants must demonstrate that their aircraft can fly 200 passengers over a distance of 200 miles, in less than two hours, using the energy equivalent of just one gallon of gas or less per occupant. Aircraft may be propelled by a variety of clean technology, including batteries, electric motors, bio-fuel solutions or hybrid engines.

Volume is a key issue to consider, as they must keep the aircraft's noise down to under 78 decibels at full power.

The total prize purse is $1.65 million, the biggest amount in civil aviation history.

The Green Flight Challenge will run from September 25th to October 2nd at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, California.

On October 3rd, the public will get a chance to see the competing aircraft at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California.

With the aviation sector responsible for two percent of the world's carbon emissions, according to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, this competition couldn't have come at a better time.

A study recently ranked the carbon efficiency of popular airlines, with the CEO of Brighter Planet stating, "Businesses and individuals don’t necessarily have to cut out air travel or spend more time and money to be more environmentally sensitive, they just need better carbon intelligence.” In June, the U.S. demanded that their airlines be exempt from greenhouse gas penalties per a European Union law extending carbon permits to aviation.

This isn't the first time Google's taken up a green transportation initiative.

The company first launched its clean G-fleet electric vehicles in 2007 and later unveiled the largest corporate electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the country.

FOLLOW HUFFPOST GREEN