NASA’s technological innovations will help the United States meet the goals of sustainable aviation


NASA is expanding its research to lead the nation towards a sustainable, zero-carbon aviation future. Credit: Vehicle image created by Scott Anders, Rich Wahls and Lillian Gipson; Forest imagery franckreporter, E +, GettyImages

">Nasa Administrator Bill Nelson recently joined federal government and industry leaders at a White House event highlighting sustainable aviation and the administration’s focus on medium and long goals term to fight climate change.

The event highlighted a plan to reduce aviation carbon emissions through the production of more than three billion gallons of sustainable fuel by 2030. Officials from the Departments of Transport, Energy and Agriculture have announced a Grand Challenge for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAFGC) to achieve this goal, in partnership with industry and other federal agencies. SAFGC aims to reduce costs, improve the sustainability of aviation, as well as expand the production and use of sustainable aviation fuel to meet 100% of US demand by 2050.

Nelson delivered remarks highlighting NASA’s origins as an aviation research organization and the history of improving aviation efficiency and safety. NASA innovations have made airplanes quieter and more fuel efficient while reducing their harmful emissions, he said, making aviation more environmentally and economically sustainable.

Sustainable aviation technology

NASA will demonstrate the high-risk, high-reward technological advancements essential for US aerospace manufacturers to bring to market innovative, cost-effective and sustainable products and services demanded by airlines and customers. Credit: Vehicle image created by Scott Anders, Rich Wahls and Lillian Gipson; Forest imagery franckreporter, E +, GettyImages

“Our aeronautical researchers are developing and testing new green technologies for next-generation aircraft, new automation tools for greener and safer airspace operations, and sustainable energy options for aircraft propulsion” said Nelson.

NASA is investing in cost-sharing partnerships with U.S. companies to research and demonstrate high-risk, high-reward technology for next-generation single-aisle aircraft that are at least 25% more fuel efficient. These aircraft could enter service in the early 2030s. Single-aisle aircraft generate the largest share of aviation carbon emissions of all classes of aircraft.

“We strive to maintain the economic competitiveness of US companies by helping them bring the next generation of environmentally friendly commercial transport aircraft to market,” said Bob Pearce, NASA Associate Administrator for Aeronautics. “The fiercely competitive single-aisle market is an important route to economic recovery for aircraft manufacturers and airlines after COVID, and foreign governments are investing heavily in these technologies. “

As part of its recently launched National Sustainable Flight Partnership, NASA will work with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and industry partners to accelerate the maturation of aircraft and engine technologies to enable significant reductions in fuel consumption. and carbon dioxide emissions. The partnership’s efforts include the demonstration of new technologies, such as the very first high-power hybrid electric propulsion systems for large transport aircraft, ultra-high efficiency long and thin wings and advanced composite materials. NASA will also demonstrate advanced engine technologies based on its groundbreaking innovations.

In collaboration with the Department of Energy, NASA will develop battery technologies that can provide the power needed for electric vertical take-off and landing planes, as well as short-range consumer aircraft. In the long term, these battery technologies could also achieve the energy density needed for longer range electric aircraft.

A memorandum of understanding signed at the White House event calls for the development of a government-wide strategic plan to achieve these goals. The SAFGC roadmap will take a multigenerational approach, setting milestones for the United States in 2030, 2040 and 2050.

NASA will contribute to the nation’s commitment to sustainable aviation embodied in the SAFGC. Building on its ground and flight campaigns of the past decade, NASA researchers will continue to sample and characterize the composition of sustainable aviation fuel emissions to verify performance and ensure fuel compatibility. sustainable aviation with existing and future aircraft.

For more information on the administration’s efforts on sustainable aviation fuels, check out this new fact sheet.

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