The European air transport sector aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and the aviation industry around the world has committed to drastically cutting its CO2 emissions to address the climate emergency. The transition to more-electric aircraft — or even all-electric aircraft — is a major opportunity to move the needle in this planetary race against time.
The need for a greener industrial model has prompted original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to develop new energy conversion and generation systems as well as complete new propulsion solutions that are lighter and more energy-efficient than today's.
A new design philosophy has taken root, and concepts such as more-electric aircraft (MEA), hybrid or all-electric planes and eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) vehicles are now emerging. In every case, fluid power systems (hydraulic or pneumatic) and conventional propulsion systems are being replaced by electrical systems that are more economical to operate and offer better reliability and lower maintenance.
With the increasing electrification of these systems and functions, electrical power supplies have a central role to play in improving the energy-efficiency of aircraft, reducing their emissions and propelling the aviation sector into a greener, more responsible future.
Challenges for operators and airlines:
- Smaller environmental footprint: lower emissions of CO2 and NOx, lower energy consumption, less noise pollution and greater sustainability
- Lower operating costs: higher aircraft availability, reliability and maintainability.
Challenges for aircraft manufacturers at equipment and systems level:
Lower fuel consumption
- Optimisation of systems architecture for more efficient, more flexible power management
- Lower production costs
- Simpler manufacturing and maintenance processes.