Business jet manufacturers are quietly progressing toward more-electric architectures, where electricity replaces hydraulic and pneumatic power in systems such as brakes, landing gear or even control-surface actuation. This avoids the use of environmentally unfriendly hydraulic fluids and ultimately should help reduce fuel burn.
Regulations and Government » Environment
Operating an aircraft accounts for 80 percent of the machine’s lifetime environmental footprint, according to a newly released Dassault study.
Manufacturing and dismantling account for the remaining 20 percent, and Europe’s Clean Sky research initiative includes an E80 million ($104 million) project called EcoDesign-Airframe, co-led by Dassault, aimed at greening aircraft cradles and graves.
Rockwell Collins, as a member of a consortium of industry partners led by Swedish air navigation service provider Luftfartsverket (LFV), has been awarded an active roll in the Atlantic interoperability initiative to reduce emissions (Aire) project, also known as Green Connections. The consortium includes partners LFV, Swedavia, SAS Scandinavian Airlines System, GE Aviation and Rockwell Collins.
Boeing’s Chicago downtown headquarters has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star, indicating that the building performs in the top 25 percent of comparable facilities nationwide in terms of energy efficiency. Improvements to the building’s automation and lighting systems helped reduce energy consumption and costs.
Honeywell is offering a new emissions monitoring service for business jets operating in European airspace to assist in compliance with European Union emissions trading scheme (EU-ETS) requirements. Phoenix-based Honeywell will compile and store carbon emissions data based on flight plans, number of passengers and freight information for business jet operators.
Five aerospace companies have been awarded a total of $125 million in contracts as part of an environmental initiative to spur development of new aircraft technologies. Each company–Boeing, General Electric, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce North America–will receive $25 million and is required to match the contract in terms of resources. It is part of the FAA’s Cleen (continuous lower energy, emissions and noise) program.
With the deadline for the comment period on the Environmental Protection Agency’s advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) to phase out leaded avgas having just passed, many in the industry remain galvanized for possible effects of the proposed mandate.
Eurocopter and parent company EADS have teamed with Argentina-based BioCombustibles del Chubut (BC) to study the feasibility of building an aviation biofuel factory in Brazil. The three companies signed an agreement in June. The biofuel, made from algae, could be used in Eurocopter’s diesel engines for light helicopters, which are now in the research stage (see AIN, February, page 44).
The alternative aviation fuel industry continues to conduct flight tests to validate the use of new jet-fuel blends. At the end of April, United Airlines became the first U.S. commercial carrier to fly using a certified synthetic-fuel blend that received ASTM approval last year.
Turbofan manufacturers are developing cleaner, quieter and more environmentally friendly engines that will meet current and future regulatory requirements. That fact should come as no surprise, since they have been doing this all along as the natural byproduct of efforts to build more fuel-efficient and quieter turbofans for a market that demands nothing less.