Easyjet is to trial a nanotechnology coating on its aircraft aimed at reducing drag and increasing fuel efficiency.
The low-cost carrier said that the TripleO coating, in use with the US military for the past 25 years, is a polymer that cross links and bonds to the paint surface, and adds an estimated 4oz to the weight of the aircraft.
Applied and distributed in Britain by Poole-based TripleO Performance Solution, the coating is claimed to reduce the build-up of debris on an aircraft’s structure, leading edge and other surfaces, reducing drag on the surface of an aircraft.
TripleO Performance Solution said the coating is applied in three stages. The surfaces are cleaned and then an oxalic-acid wash is applied to purge the pores of the surface and charge it with a positive polarity.
The surface then receives anionic nanoparticles of the TripleO emulsion, which are pulled into the pores electrostatically and held there while the protective chemicals have cross linked, bonded and cured, locking TripleO into the paint.
The manufacturers of the coating estimate that it could reduce Easyjet’s fuel consumption by 1–2 per cent.
The airline has coated eight aircraft and will compare their fuel consumption with the rest of the fleet during a 12-month trial period.
Carolyn McCall, Easyjet’s chief executive officer, said: ‘If we can find new ways of reducing the amount of fuel used by our aircraft, we can pass the benefits onto our passengers by offering them low fares and a lower-carbon footprint.’