It seems as if Boeing has come up with an airliner equivalent to hybrid automobiles like the Prius. It's purely a concept at this stage, but that may change over the next couple of decades. Back in 2010, Boeing released this report.
The Boeing subsonic team ... has looked at five concepts as part of the SUGAR (Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research) project. The concepts include two conventional reference configurations, similar in appearance to a 737 (nicknamed SUGAR Free and Refined SUGAR), two versions of a new design high span, strut-braced wing aircraft (referred to as SUGAR High and SUGAR Volt), and a hybrid wing body configuration (called SUGAR Ray).
The team’s report provides detailed benefits and drawbacks as well as recommendations for further study, but doesn’t show favorites. “No single concept met all of the study goals, so we did not pick a preferred concept,” said team leader Marty Bradley of BR&T.
However, the team has found that the SUGAR Volt concept (which adds an electric battery gas turbine hybrid propulsion system) can reduce fuel burn by greater than 70 percent and total energy use by 55 percent when battery energy is included. Moreover, the fuel burn reduction and the ‘greening’ of the electrical power grid can produce large reductions in emissions of life cycle CO2 and nitrous oxide. Hybrid electric propulsion also has the potential to shorten takeoff distance and reduce noise.
The SUGAR team’s report concludes that hybrid electric engine technology “is a clear winner, because it can potentially improve performance relative to all of the NASA goals.”
There's more at the link.
Boeing recently released this video about its ideas. The proposed aircraft would be a commuter-type airliner, aimed at replacing short- to medium-range turboprops such as the Canadian Bombardier Dash 8 or the French ATR 42 and ATR 72 models.
Looks interesting! I may live long enough to be able to fly aboard one of these. Something to look forward to - although I'd rather take a flight into space, if I ever win the lottery!