NASA has just announced their first X plane designation in over 10 years. The new plane, the X-57, is an experimental aircraft designed to test an all electric airplane. Utilizing a unique wing design, 14 electric motors, and what I can only assume is a boatload of batteries.
NASA's design mimics a small private type plane, or general aviation type aircraft. It's small, only can fit a few people and travels at around 175 mpg, leaving out faster and larger airliner type aircraft. Keep in mind though that X planes has a storied history of exploring new territory in aviation. The purpose s the learn and find new ways of doing things.
When speaking about airlines, there are a number ideas floating out there currently. Bio fuel is already a thing happening in the airline industry as a way to reduce the environmental impact, and get away from the volatile oil business. Let's make no mistakes though, bio fuels are not a good green solution as they still burn and still pump large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Other options currently are being explored in the jet arena, but this new X plane coming out of NASA will be the first all electric airplane and the first time I've even seen the idea seriously put forward. NASA has even redesigned the wing to have a much smaller surface area, presumably to reduce drag that would be a huge drain on the aircraft and subsequently on the batteries required to power it.
As someone who works in green energy, I'm very happy to see these solutions starting to come up more and more. The world is in need of a change on this front, and it's great to see these types of solutions being put forward.