Lightweight: How Much is a Gallon of Fuel Worth?

Posted by Mike Guarrera on Sep 4, 2014 2:20:00 PM

aviation lighweighting wire&cable

According to Airlines for America®, U.S. passenger and cargo airlines require more than 18 billion gallons of jet fuel annually – that is more than 108 billion dollars a year based on today’s fuel prices. American Airlines tells us that one pound of weight removed from each plane in a fleet can mean 11,000 gallons of fuel saved each year for that fleet. It is no wonder that weight reduction is perhaps the single biggest challenge facing the aviation industry.


Let’s look at only one tiny component of an aircraft: data cables. In an airplane, such as a 787, there are miles of data cable, much of it not flight-critical (in-flight entertainment systems, seat-back systems, etc.). Say this translates to about 8,000 pounds of the total aircraft weight. What if these same data cables could be made to weigh only 2,400 pounds? That represents a potential fuel-cost savings of more than $30 million fleet-wide over one year. For an airline industry whose single largest expense is fuel, savings like this get attention.

What if this product already existed? And, in addition to saving weight, what if it offered a drop-in solution with tighter bend radius capability and a near infinite flex life? At Nanocomp, we are excited to offer a product that can support all of these important attributes and more. Data cables manufactured with our carbon nanotube (CNT) products offer a solution with a potential 70 percent weight savings over traditional copper cables as well as all the other benefits listed above.

In future posts, we'll be writing about other light-weighting, performance enhancing solutions that save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions for planes, trains and automobiles.