Boeing launches new 777 “ecoDemonstrator” test plane

For example, Boeing is working with NASA to produce SMART vortex generators, small vertical vanes on the wing designed to improve aerodynamic efficiency during takeoff and landing.

Other projects include a system designed to retain gray water on board, water washed in the sink will be used to flush the toilet, which also reduces aircraft weight.

The aircraft will also be used to perform tests on an “environmentally preferred” refrigerant, a new fire extinguishing agent to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and an improved heads-up display system for pilots to improve operational efficiency.

Meanwhile, Boeing will continue its in-depth study of the impact of sustainable aviation fuel on reducing emissions.

Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program began a decade ago and takes technologies out of the lab for testing in an operational environment.

It tested about 230 technologies in total “to help decarbonize aviation, improve operational efficiency, and improve passenger safety and experience.”

The 2022 ecoDemonstrator aircraft, bearing registration number N861BC, was first delivered to Singapore Airlines in 2002 and subsequently flew with Air New Zealand and Suriname Airways during its 20-year lifespan.

It has been repainted with an Earth-themed livery, which Boeing says symbolizes a decade of testing to reduce fuel consumption, emissions and noise.

“Boeing is committed to supporting our customers and enabling the commercial aviation industry to meet our shared commitment of net zero carbon emissions by 2050,” said Stan Deal, president and chief executive officer of Boeing. Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in a statement.

“The rigorous testing of new technologies in the ecoDemonstrator program further improves the environmental performance of our products and services and is invaluable in continually improving safety.

Boeing’s statement says about a third of these tested technologies have already been incorporated into its products and services.

The aviation industry has long pushed to create a more sustainable flight environment in the face of growing criticism.

Various reports from industry watchdogs and environmental groups estimate that aviation generates 2-3% of global CO2 emissions.

At its annual meeting in October 2021, IATA, the International Air Transport Association, announced a resolution in favor of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

At this year’s IATA AGM, taking place June 19-21 in Doha, Qatar, a “Focus on Sustainability” session will address relevant industry issues, including single-use plastics , SAFs and sustainability challenges including net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Many airlines have already committed to offering carbon neutral flights and exploring alternative fuels to reduce pollution.

Earlier this month, Spanish airline Air Nostrum announced it was ordering 10 new hybrid airships. The Airlander 10 planes are expected to be delivered by 2026. Manufactured by British company Hybrid Air Vehicles, the airships could cut emissions by 90%, the company says.

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