2009 Environment Report Boeing
Research and Development

Ensuring that our own environmental technology strategy has a clear focus is a key element of our environmental commitments. Developing environmentally progressive technologies that can be efficiently and effectively incorporated into Boeing's current and future products is one of the major pillars of Boeing's enterprise technology strategy, which aims to integrate and leverage technology development across Boeing's diverse product line and manufacturing base.

Researchers are actively pursuing technologies selected to provide strategic capabilities, including improved energy efficiency, reduced emissions, noise and hazardous materials, and increased material recycling. In addition, analysts are developing thorough and transparent methods to accurately characterize the life-cycle footprint of Boeing's products and services.

Key technology programs are addressing lightweight advanced materials, aerodynamics, aircraft emissions, efficient aircraft operations, noise reduction, passenger comfort, alternative fuels, sustainable manufacturing processes and materials, and recycling and reuse of Boeing products.

Much of our airplane development work is focused on fuel efficiency. In fact, more than 75 percent of Boeing Commercial Airplanes' research and development effectively contributes to improving the environmental performance of our products. Fuel efficiency continues to be a core focus of our R&D efforts—for each liter of fuel that isn't burned, it means not emitting 3.2 liters of carbon dioxide (CO2). Through the introduction of progressive new aircraft such as the 787 Dreamliner and the 747-8 Intercontinental, we are poised to deliver significant reductions in noise, fuel use and emissions. But environmental performance isn't simply a by-product of aircraft design; it's a very deliberate effort that drives us to continually improve fuel efficiency for our customers. In an age of volatile fuel prices, that's good business sense and good for the environment.

Our approach to research and development combines the best ideas in aerodynamics, materials, propulsion and systems, which are brought together and then optimized to work together in the most thoughtful and integrated manner. The result is innovation, thought leadership and design principles that will help guide aviation going forward.

Aerodynamic design must also balance manufacturing and structural requirements, coupled with advanced engine designs that provide the needed thrust to lift aircraft into flight. With propulsion, engines balance power against engine size, weight and emissions, while striving to limit maintenance and repair costs while aiming for quiet operation during departures, landings and in-flight. Structural materials are chosen for their strength and durability, but must be as lightweight as possible to increase fuel efficiency.