Bombardier has upped its commitment to a sustainable future for business aviation, unveiling a blended wing design that it believes could be the basis for a next-generation jet. The manufacturer also announced at EBACE that it has published an environmental product declaration (EPD) providing comprehensive data on the environmental footprint for the entire life cycle of its Challenger 3500 super-midsized model.
The Eco Jet concept unveiled on Sunday represents the current state of long-term research and technology work aimed at defining what it will take to achieve Bombardier’s goal of a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions from its aircraft. It believes the sixth-generation blended wing is the foundation for this progress, and some of the lessons it is taking from the program could be progressively introduced to existing aircraft.
According to the Canadian company, the Challenger 3500 is only the second aircraft to have its green credential verified by an EPD. Bombardier has already published an EPD covering its large-cabin Global 7500.
The complex EPD process is based on the ISO 14020 international standards, which specify requirements for all environmental claims made about the aircraft, as well as science-based life cycle analysis data to substantiate these. For the Challenger 3500, this covers more than 40,000 parts to generate what Bombardier described as a “cradle-to-the-grave” based on the design, development, and production processes.
Preparing the EPD took around 18 months and was concluded with an internal review of data by subject matter experts. The assessment task involved 26 Tier 1 suppliers and 44 work package teams.
“Bombardier is the only business aviation manufacturer to hold EPDs, confirming that reducing the industry’s environmental footprint is of the utmost importance to us,” said Bombardier executive vice president Michel Ouellette. “We recognize that establishing sustainability requirements at the start of the design phase initiates the development of aircraft that support the industry’s carbon reduction goals. Improving the environmental performance of our manufacturing, servicing activities, and products across our value chain to ensure environmental risks and impacts are identified, effectively managed, and reduced is imperative for a sustainable future.”
Ouellette said the first objective of the EPD is to “put a stake in the ground” and establish a baseline for environmental performance. Eventually, when more business aircraft have equivalent documentation, customers should be able to compare like for like carbon footprints.
The Challenger 3500’s green credentials run through the cabin, with interiors developed using sustainable materials and upcycled polyester, as well as rapidly-renewable wood, and locally-sourced fiber-based materials. These include eucalyptus veneers, offering a 43 percent carbon dioxide reduction and 94 percent cut in water use, plus wool and hemp fabrics with respective 15 and 30 percent reductions.
Bombardier said the new approach has not compromised comfort, appearance, or functionality. EBACE visitors can see examples of the new materials at its booth during the show.
The aircraft’s crew now uses a new eco app that optimizes flight plans to reduce fuel burn and so cut carbon emissions. This app will be available free to Challenger 3500 customers.
While Bombardier was developing the latest Challenger, it ensured that the test flight program was carbon neutral using carbon offsets. The jet can operate on sustainable aviation fuel.
According to Bombardier, it is on track to make the first deliveries of the new Challenger 3500 during the second half of 2022. In April it completed certification of the autothrottle.