Clean Aviation – Spotlight on disruptive technologies
Overview of the The Clean Aviation Annual Forum’s second day took a more granular focus deep diving into the latest achievements from Clean Sky 2 and the most recent technological innovations for hybrid-electric powered aircraft, hydrogen aircraft and ultra-efficient short and medium range aircraft. Speakers also put the spotlight on critical transversal topics notably certification and synergies and how to better connect initiatives throughout Europe.
The day opened with the signing of a Memorandum of Understandingbetween the Clean Aviation and Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertakings in view of strengthening strategic cooperation on research and innovation in hydrogen-powered aviation. Clean Hydrogen’s Bart Biebuyck stated that “we’re contributing to an ambitious research and innovation agenda for a cleaner and more sustainable transport sector.”
Discussions then turned to certification and how collaboration can be a key enabler in reducing time to market. Chief Engineer at EASA, Alain Leroy highlighted the value of working together at an early stage of technology development to reduce uncertainties and increase efficiency.
The conversation then shifted to digital certification in the frame of advancements in aerodynamics and wing technologies. Airbus Defence and Space’s Head of Architecture and Integration José Luis López Diez presented for example the recent contribution in the Wing domain out of the Airframe and the Regional domain in from Clean Sky 2 projects and theClean Aviation’s HERWINGT project which sets out to develop an innovative wing design for a hybrid-electric regional aircraft capable of slashing weight and fuel consumption.
Dassault Aviation’s Vice President of R&T and Future Projects Philippe Rostand took a broader view, exploring cutting-edge wing technologies for short, medium and long range aircraft and presented some insights to link those research activities to certification through the lead Dassault Aviation CONCERTO project. After which Philippe Beaumier, Head of Aeronautics at Onera, , shared insights on recent progress achieved on aerodynamics and their contribution to a hybrid approach to certifiability.
Honing in on hybrid-electric
As one of Clean Aviation’s core technological thrusts, hybrid-electric regional aircraft came under the spotlight. Leonardo Aircraft’s Head of Advanced Research Marco Protti emphasised a number of key challenges facing the community: from supply of energy sources to timing and stressed that joining forces will prove critical to overcoming these challenges. Protti’s co-panellists Jan Ludvik, Director Engineering for Advanced Technology Europe at Honeywell and Nathalie Duquesne, Managing Director at Lieberr Aerospace built on this discourse providing concrete examples of how we can harness knowledge from other sectors to adapt proven solutions for aerospace.
“The best energy is the energy we don’t use”
With these words of wisdom from Airbus’ VP Commercial R&T Lead Architect Oliver Criou, the day’s discussions turned to ultra-efficient short and medium range aircraft, the second of Clean Aviation’s thrusts. The importance of capitalising on existing knowledge and in parallel, actively working to fill shortfalls were prominent messages. Deputy Engineering Vice-President at Safran Aircraft Engines Pierre Cottenceau explored how the Clean Aviation project OFELIA, which uses ultra-high efficient Open Fan architecture, builds on experience gained under the Clean Sky programme; whilst Director of Technology Management at MTU Aero Engines, Martin Metscher reinforced the need to concentrate efforts on increasing of understanding of non-CO2 emissions to achieve climate-neutral aviation and the way the Clean Aviation project SWTICH led by MTU will contribute to this thanks to the disruptive water-enhanced turbofan propulsion concept. We need to look at the future
Speaking on a panel dedicated to Propulsion Efficiency and Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft, Rolls-Royce’s Director of Aerospace Technology and Future Programmes Alan Newby stated that “we have the best brains in Europe” yet “we need to go further and faster”. R&T Leader of Avio Aero Luca Bedon reinforced this idea stressing the importance of adopting a forward-thinking approach by seeking alternative solutions to SAFs and adopting SAFs only for applications that will not be able to take advantage of electrification and direct use of hydrogen. Co-panellist Tine Tomažič, CEO at Pipistrel put the spotlight on electric flightclaiming that “innovation should be about the goal”.
Pioneer what does it mean?
Racer, perhaps the ultimate example of disruptive technology was the focus of Airbus Helicopters’ Tomasz Krysinski presentation. The Vice President of Research and Innovation was joined by Latécoère’s Senior Vice President for Innovation and R&T Serge Berenger and CIRA’s Director General Marcello Amato for a dedicated session on tiltrotors and helicopters which underscored the importance of working collaboratively to enhance mobility options in Europe.
Synergies are happening
The day returned to the point of departure exploring how to best harness synergies across not only EU but also national and regional programmes. A very diverse panel brought together representatives from Dutch, German, Italian and EU programmes. Michel Peters, Vice Chair of the Board at Luchtvaart in Transitie, Kai Wagner, Head of Division of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Deputy, Raffaella Farina, Director General for Economic Development of the Campania Region, Italy and Mirela Atanasiu, Head of Unit Operators and Communications of the Clean Hydrogen Partnership communed on the value of information sharing and strengthening cooperation.
Axel Krein closed the event expressing his “motivation to move ahead” with more energy and optimism and inviting participants to recognise the value of connecting people as we continue working together to speed up progress.