easyJet's hybrid plane design has a hydrogen fuel cell inside

The low-price airline's concept could save 50,000 tons of fuel a year.

Aiming to save the European airline money, oh and the environment, easyJet hopes to trial new hybrid plane designs later this year. We're not talking about a new paint job or minor wing design changes, however: the company wants to embed a hydrogen fuel cell into a new hybrid plane design, with aircraft brakes that absorb energy on landing to be reused, even powering the jet through taxiing without using its engines.

EasyJet's Hybrid Plane Concept

While the prototype designs have involved students at Cranfield University in the UK, the concept has been lead by easyJet's engineering director Ian Davies: "The hybrid plane concept we are announcing today is both a vision of the future and a challenge to our partners and suppliers to continue to push the boundaries towards reducing our carbon emissions."

A reduction in fuel consumption, courtesy of energy-absorbing brakes and hybrid engines, will mean reduced carbon emissions — and less fuel to carry around, reducing those all important costs for an airline that likes to play to the margins.