Designing the Future
In aviation, the most significant environmental improvements occur when they are designed into a product from the beginning. This forward-thinking approach, which we call Design for Environment, includes analyzing a products environmental footprint over its operational life cycle — from raw materials, through manufacturing, into service and, finally, at the end of use.
Over the next several years, Boeing will fly annual demonstrator airplanes to accelerate emerging technologies designed to increase fuel efficiency, reduce noise and assess sustainable materials. Testing in 2012 and 2013 will be conducted in partnership with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s CLEEN (Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise) program.
The first ecoDemonstrator technology suite will be flown in late summer or early fall of 2012 on a Next-Generation 737-800 and will test a number of innovations. The wings will be fitted with adaptive trailing edges to improve fuel efficiency at takeoff, climb and cruising altitudes, as well as reduce community noise. A regenerative hydrogen fuel cell will provide an alternative source of cabin power while advancing technology toward reducing weight, fuel consumption and carbon emissions. Advanced flight trajectory and in-flight planning will enable more fuel-efficient routes and enable future improvements in air traffic management.
In 2013, a 787 will enter into the ecoDemonstrator program to test and advance additional technologies for possible incorporation on future airplane models.
This unmanned aerial vehicle is fueled with liquid hydrogen, a first for Boeing. The Phantom Eye is a high-altitude, long-endurance vehicle designed to stay airborne for up to four days — with no contributing CO2 emissions. Boeing internally funded all the research to develop this innovative concept. Powered by two 2.3-liter (0.6-gallon), four-cylinder hydrogen engines that provide 150 horsepower each, the Phantom Eye’s first flight occurred on June 1, 2012.
This blended wing body research and test aircraft, designed to advance technologies that will consume less fuel and make less noise, could help to reduce the carbon footprint of aircraft by an additional 20 percent. The Boeing blended wing body design resembles a manta ray with a flat, tailless fuselage. This fuselage blending helps to get additional lift with less drag compared to a circular fuselage. Boeing previously tested the three-engine X-48B and later this year is scheduled to fly the more efficient twin-engine X-48C.
Boeing’s Subsonic Ultra-Green Aircraft Research (SUGAR) team is working to identify future commercial transport concepts for NASA. The team is looking at a number of concepts and technology development for several advanced fuel and energy technology options for the 2030 to 2050 time frame.
These include hybrid battery-gas turbine propulsion, fuel cells, fuel cell–gas turbine hybrid propulsion systems, cryogenic fuels, cryogenically cooled engines and associated technologies, advanced batteries and open rotor/turboprop technologies.
One concept, called SUGAR Volt, shows potential to meet NASA’s environmental goals for 2030 to 2035. With a hybrid propulsion system, using both jet fuel and batteries, a greater wingspan and open-rotor engines, the SUGAR Volt is designed to emit 60 percent less carbon dioxide and 80 percent less nitrogen oxide than aircraft that operate today.
We are focused on developing smart, secure energy solutions for the U.S. military that lower operational costs and increase energy efficiency at military installations around the country. The team is also developing advanced technologies in areas such as renewable energy, energy storage and carbon capture.
In August 2011, Boeing and Siemens announced an alliance to improve energy access and security for the U.S. Department of Defense, the largest energy consumer in the federal government.
Blended Wing Body: The shape of things to come?
SUGAR Volt: Boeing's Hybrid Electric Aircraft