Researchers in China have developed a prototype jet engine that uses air plasma to generate propulsion, moving a step closer to humans’ dream of carbon emissions-free air travel.
The prototype device, built by a team of scientists from the Institute of Technological Sciences at Wuhan University, uses air and electricity to generate propulsion under laboratory conditions that can be comparable to a traditional commercial aircraft engine, they said in a paper published Tuesday.
The device produces propulsion by compressing air and ionizing it with microwaves, the researchers wrote. They said they used the technology to lift a 1 kilogram steel ball over a quartz tube with a diameter of 24 millimeters.
“It is possible to construct a high-performance microwave air plasma jet thruster in the future to avoid carbon emissions and global warming that arise due to fossil fuel combustion,” the researchers said in the paper.
Contact reporter Ding Yi (firstname.lastname@example.org)