Boeing and Fraport showcase innovative technologies at the Boeing ecoDemonstrator European Expo in Frankfurt

Boeing and Fraport today kicked off the Boeing ecoDemonstrator European Expo at Frankfurt Airport to showcase innovative technologies that advance aviation. More than 1000 guests including industry stakeholders, students and employees are registered to attend the technology exhibition during the coming two days and to explore the technology projects on the 2019 Boeing ecoDemonstrator test airplane. This year a Boeing 777 serves as a flying test-bed for 50 projects – more than ever before.

"We look forward to hosting the ecoDemonstrator European Expo at Frankfurt Airport in partnership with Boeing over the next two days,” said Dr. Pierre Dominique Prümm, Executive Director Aviation and Infrastructure, Fraport AG. “The technology projects presented at the Expo together with partners from industry, universities and research institutes demonstrate how the industry is working together to address tomorrow’s challenges in aviation."

The ecoDemonstrator 777 arrived at Frankfurt Airport from Seattle, USA, on Monday, flying on a blend of sustainable aviation fuel. All test flights, including the departure flight from Frankfurt on Thursday this week, will be fuelled with sustainable fuel to reduce CO2 emissions and to demonstrate the fuel’s readiness for use.

“The ecoDemonstrator program takes promising technologies from the lab and into the air for testing and validation to make flying safer, more sustainable, efficient and enjoyable,” said Sir Martin Donnelly, President of Boeing Europe. “A key part of the ecoDemonstrator program is the collaboration with industry partners worldwide to jointly test technologies and share learnings to advance innovation in aviation.”

Technologies being tested this year cover several areas, among them:

Enhancing safety and optimizing efficiency: A digital communications system that links air traffic controllers, pilots and airline operations centres – which was used during the flight from Seattle to Frankfurt – enhances safety by reducing radio frequency congestion and improves efficiency by optimizing routing to reduce fuel use and emissions.

A technology being developed in collaboration with Boeing and NASA called shape memory alloy enables vortex generators on the airplane’s wing to move based on temperature. These small fins deploy during takeoff and landing, where the air is warmer, to improve aerodynamic performance. They retract against the wing in the colder temperatures of cruising altitudes where they’re not needed, reducing drag.

Sustainable materials: A non-chromate primer, which prevents corrosion on the aluminum infrastructure of the airplane, will be tested to reduce health risks during manufacturing. A moisture-absorbent floor in one of the lavatories that is made from recycled carbon composite fibre will also be tested, and the airplane cabin floor is covered with recyclable carpet tiles.

Improving airline reliability and the passenger experience: Connected cabin technologies that make galleys, seats and lavatories smart will be evaluated. Real-time information from these devices can inform cabin crew about malfunctioning equipment or the location of food and beverage items. Over time, this information can support predictive analytics to improve efficiency and reliability by enabling airlines to better manage their catering inventory and replace parts in the cabin before they break. These technologies will also test a standard network backbone being developed by an intelligent cabin industry consortium.

Boeing's ecoDemonstrator program first took to the skies in 2012. More than 100 technologies have been tested on five airplanes. More than a third have transitioned to implementation, and almost half remain in further development. For more information on the Boeing ecoDemonstrator program visit the ecoDemonstrator website.