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Aviation Sustainability and the Environment, CAPA 07-Feb-2020

Analysis

Headlines

Qatar Airways CEO: Sustainability spotlight should be on fuel and engine suppliers

IAG CEO: Airlines must demonstrate that offsetting is a credible process

Airbus conducts wind tunnel testing for E-Fan X hybrid electric aircraft

Ryanair emits 935kt of CO2 in Jan-2020

ATAG ED: Sustainability messaging should focus on middle ground of concerned pax

This CAPA report features a summary of recent aviation sustainability and environment news, selected from the 300+ news alerts published daily by CAPA. For more information, please contact us.

Qatar Airways CEO: Sustainability spotlight should be on fuel and engine suppliers

Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker, speaking at the CAPA Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit, stated (06-Feb-2020) the aviation industry needs to put a spotlight on aviation fuel and aircraft engine suppliers as the stakeholders best placed to take the lead on improving the sustainability of air transport.

Mr Al Baker acknowledged the sustainability improvement measures these two stakeholders should undertake will require "huge investments" but said the suppliers will get "huge returns on those investments". He added that the rapid growth of the global aviation industry means that sustainable biofuel producers would quickly be able to achieve economies of scale and generate significant returns if they are willing to invest in expanding production of biofuels.

IAG CEO: Airlines must demonstrate that offsetting is a credible process

IAG CEO Willie Walsh, speaking at the CAPA Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit, stated (06-Feb-2020) airlines "have to be able to demonstrate that offsetting is a credible process".

Mr Walsh said many consumers are sceptical about offsetting due to questionable projects in the past, so airlines and the wider aviation industry "have to ensure that those offsets that we are investing in are credible and lead to a genuine reduction in CO2".

Airbus conducts wind tunnel testing for E-Fan X hybrid electric aircraft

Airbus reported (04-Feb-2020) it carried out wind tunnel testing for the E-Fan X at its wind tunnel centre in Filton. The test programme has offered invaluable insight into the hybrid-electric demonstrator's aerodynamic design, low-speed performance and handling qualities in preparation for its first flight in 2021.

The E-Fan X is Airbus' hybrid-electric demonstrator. The test aircraft, based on the BAe 146 RJ100, will have one of its four jet engines replaced with a 2MW motor. Other modifications to the BAe 146 RJ100 include the addition of large, externally mounted heat exchangers for liquid cooling systems, as well as intakes and an exhaust for the fuselage-mounted power generation system.

Original Report: The E-Fan X puts its aerodynamic design to the test

The wind tunnel testing for the E-Fan X was carried out at Airbus’ wind tunnel centre in Filton, UK. All Airbus aircraft undergo wind tunnel testing at this centre. 

Wind tunnel testing is a critical milestone for any aircraft. For the E-Fan X, the test programme has offered invaluable insight into the hybrid-electric demonstrator’s aerodynamic design, low-speed performance and handling qualities in preparation for its first flight in 2021. 

It’s an early July morning in Filton, UK, and a flurry of activity is underway at Airbus’ wind tunnel test centre. A scale model of a BAe 146 RJ100—a short-haul regional airliner originally designed in the 1980s—is being attached to the Filton wind tunnel in preparation for testing. In fact, it is the same wind tunnel model used in the certification of the original BAe 146 RJ100 aircraft. 

But this test model is not exactly like the original. 

“The BAe 146 RJ100 aircraft is not designed to have hybrid-electric systems on board. We’re trying to take something that exists and turn it into a hybrid-electric demonstrator.”

Anna Calder, E-Fan X Overall Aircraft Design Engineer

The E-Fan X is Airbus’ hybrid-electric demonstrator. In the test aircraft based on the BAe 146 RJ100, one of the four jet engines will be replaced by a 2MW motor. Other modifications to the BAe 146 RJ100 include the addition of large, externally mounted heat exchangers for liquid cooling systems, as well as intakes and an exhaust for the fuselage-mounted power generation system. 

If the E-Fan X is to embark on its first flight in 2021, engineers must understand how these modifications will impact the aircraft’s overall aerodynamic performance and handling qualities. And wind tunnel testing can provide invaluable insight in this respect.

E-Fan X: Wind tunnel testing

Wind tunnel testing: a key milestone for E-Fan X

Wind tunnels are tubes in which powerful fans are used to exert force and pressure on a scale model of an aircraft. The air moving around the static test model helps engineers to understand how a real aircraft would react to this pressure when flying. All Airbus aircraft undergo wind tunnel testing in preparation for flight. In addition to aircraft, spacecraft and rockets also undergo wind tunnel testing. 

During its testing, the E-Fan X was attached to the Filton low-speed wind tunnel, whose test section measures 3.65 x 3.05 metres. Giant fans expelled air at speeds of up to 216 mph. Small threads attached to the test model enabled engineers to analyse the movement of air from a variety of angles. At a 1:8 scale model, the E-Fan X was tested at a wingspan of over 3 metres.

“The E-Fan X is an aircraft demonstrator, so it’s not optimised for aerodynamic design,” says Oliver Family, Airbus Head of Overall Aircraft Design, E-Fan X. “But to fly the demonstrator safely and efficiently, the aerodynamics impacts need to be fully understood.” 
The E-Fan X demonstrator is based on a BAe 146 aircraft. This wind tunnel model was part of the original design and certification of that aircraft.

A wealth of insight into aerodynamic design & handling

For Airbus engineers, the key takeaway from wind tunnel testing is a better understanding of the E-Fan X’s overall aerodynamic design. In addition, the test programme offered insight on all aspects relating to low-speed performance and handling qualities.

“The only change we discovered during the test programme is that we need to modify the porosity of some of the devices inside the ducts to ensure they relate correctly to the full-scale E-Fan X model devices,” says Paul Gingell, Airbus Wind Tunnel Test Engineer. 

Successful completion of wind tunnel testing marks another key milestone in the E-Fan X’s development. Future milestones include flight tests for characterisation and installation of the 2MW motor on the test aircraft in 2020.

Ryanair emits 935kt of CO2 in Jan-2020

Ryanair reported (06-Feb-2020) 935kt of CO2 emissions for Jan-2020, based on total operating kilometres of 13.5 million. The total equates to 69g of CO2 per passenger/km.

As previously reported by CAPA, Ryanair has committed to reducing this by a further 10% to under 60g per pax/km by 2030.

Original Report: Ryanair’s Co2 Emissions For January At Just 69g Per Passenger/Km

Ryanair today (6 Feb) released its January CO2 emissions statistics, which show an ave. of 69g CO2 per passenger/km.


January 2020
Total Kilometres 13,475m km
Total Passengers 10.8m
Total CO2 Emissions  935kt
CO2 Per Pax/km 69g

Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said:

 “With the youngest fleet and highest load factors, Ryanair is Europe’s greenest/cleanest major airline. Our CO2 per passenger/km is the lowest in the industry, having been cut from 82g to 66g over the last decade while other high fare competitors currently generate over 120g per pax/km.

The single most important thing any consumer can do to reduce their carbon footprint is switch to Ryanair. We are pleased to announce that our CO2 per pax/km for January was 69g, half the rate of other flag carrier European airlines, and we are committed to reducing this by a further 10% to under 60g per pax/km by 2030.”

ATAG ED: Sustainability messaging should focus on middle ground of concerned pax

Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) ED Michael Gill, speaking at the CAPA Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit, stated (05-Feb-2020) "There's a part of the population who have decided they are not going to fly again" for environmental reasons and "I think it would be extremely difficult to change their minds".

Mr Gill said the aviation industry should focus its sustainability messaging efforts on the "middle ground of concerned passengers who understand the benefits of the aviation industry, but who are worried about the impact that it's had" on the environment.

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