EU and the European aeronautics industry join forces to launch 1.6 billion euro Clean Sky research project
Janez Potočnik, European Science and Research Commissioner, announces Clean Sky
Tue 5 Feb 2008 – One of Europe’s largest research programmes, with a budget of 1.6 billion euros ($2.34bn), has been formally launched and takes a new generation of greener, more environmentally efficient aircraft a step closer. The Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) is an EU-wide collaborative private-public partnership of SMEs, universities and research centres as well as leading aeronautical manufacturers.
The budget will be equally shared between the European Commission and industry over the period 2008-2014 and the project’s main objective is to reach by 2020 the environmental goals set by the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE) of a 50% reduction in aviation CO2 emissions, a 80% reduction in NOx emissions and a 50% reduction in aircraft external noise compared with 2000 levels.
The process aims to speed up technological breakthrough developments and shorten the time to market new solutions tested around six ‘Integrated Technology Demonstrators’ (ITDs):
·SMART Fixed Wing Aircraft will deliver active wing technologies and new aircraft configuration for breakthrough new products.
·Green Regional Aircraft will deliver low-weight aircraft using smart structures, as well as low external noise configurations and the integration of technology developed in other ITDs, such as engines, energy management and new system architectures.
·Green Rotorcraft will deliver innovative rotor blades and engine installation for noise reduction, lower airframe drag, integration of diesel engine technology and advanced electrical systems for elimination of noxious hydraulic fluids and fuel consumption reduction.
·Sustainable and Green Engines will design and build five engine demonstrators to integrate technologies for low noise and lightweight low pressure systems, high efficiency, low NOx and low weight cores, and novel configurations such as open rotors and intercoolers.
·Systems for Green Operations will focus on all-electrical aircraft equipment and systems architectures, thermal management, capabilities for ‘green’ trajectories and mission, and improved ground operations to give any aircraft the capability to fully exploit the benefits of a Single European Sky.
·Eco-Design will focus on green design and production, including the withdrawal and recycling of aircraft, by optimal use of raw materials and energies thus improving the environmental impact of the whole product life cycle, and accelerating compliance with the REACH directive, a new European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use.
“The challenges that stand before us today, such as boosting international competitiveness and tackling climate change, are common to all European countries and research is a major part of the answer. We stand a better chance of making a difference if we work together. This is the basic logic behind the Clean Sky JTI and I am delighted that it is now underway and ready to start its work,” said Janez Potočnik, European Science and Research Commissioner, at the inauguration.
Speaking to journalists afterwards, he said: “Achieving Europe’s emission targets will require actions on a number of fronts. Today, aeronautics accounts for only about 3% of the CO2 emissions worldwide. But with passenger numbers increasing by 5% every year, these emission levels will grow over the coming decades. That is why we have to act now. Europe is moving towards a low carbon economy. The agenda for aeronautics has been set by the inclusion of aviation in the Emissions Trading Scheme and it will mean meeting the challenges of significantly reduced fuel consumption and emissions.
“We are talking about a reduction of two to three billion tonnes of CO2 over the next 40 years, as well as reductions in smog, acid rain and depredated water quality. We are talking about an improved quality of life for all those affected by aircraft noise in an age when air traffic will continue, and should continue, to increase.
“This is definitely an important day not only for the European aeronautics industry and our research community, who are here to celebrate this occasion, but it is also an important day for Europe’s efforts in breaking the link between ever-expanding air travel and the impact travel has on our environment.”
Åke Svensson, CEO of Saab and Chairman of the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD), commented: “Clean Sky will address two simple questions: how we fly and what we fly. The carbon footprint aviation leaves behind is seen as not being acceptable and Clean Sky is an excellent way of addressing the challenges we face in developing more sustainable aviation.”
A provisional executive committee, chaired by Marc Ventre, CEO of the Aerospace Propulsion Division of SAFRAN, will be required to agree on intellectual property rights issues such as how new technology will be patented and any revenue shared.
There are currently 86 organizations from 16 EU countries participating in the project, made up of 54 industrial concerns (including 20 SMEs), 15 research centres and 17 universities.
Airbus is one of those expecting to play a leading role in Clean Sky, including major participation on active wing technology, which aims at a reduction in CO2 emissions and noise.
“The environmental challenges facing aviation today are global and will require multinational collaboration for the best solutions,” said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO, welcoming the Clean Sky initiative. “Innovation, alternative fuels, research and technology are some of the key enablers and air traffic management is another. Being an eco-efficient company is key to Airbus’ vision to help the industry prosper responsibly, with less and less impact on the environment. Clean Sky is a great platform to continue down this path.”