Impacts

Climate and Environment

Environmental protection is one of the main drivers for further investment in technology development for new products in the aviation industry. The challenge is to continuously reduce the aviation-related environmental impact in the face of ever-increasing demand. Aviation has managed to grow more than 50%1 since the year 2000. The sector is still expected to grow at a rate of 4-5% p.a.

These prerequisites of the market increase the pressure to reduce emissions (CO2, NOx, noise, etc.) per passenger kilometre so as to not further increase but reduce the impact on the environment and a changing climate. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, fuel consumption and noise also goes hand in hand with reducing operating costs and making future engines and aircraft more attractive both for the industry and society.

 

Reduction of CO2 emissions despite increasing air travel

 

The overall target of ENOVAL is to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 26% compared to the year 2000 reference engine, where the specific contribution of ENOVAL will be 3% to 5%. As an example, a 5% reduction in fuel consumption of a mid-range aircraft (e.g. A320) leads to an annual saving of 1,200 tons of CO2. This becomes even more relevant as CO2 emissions and their reduction have a direct economic impact on

  • airlines and their customers due to the increase of fuel costs and the evolution of emission trading in Europe (Emission Trading System) or globally including aviation, and
  • the development of infrastructures meeting the requirements of increased air travel and their acceptance by local communities in the proximity of airports.

The current market outlook for the coming 20 years projects a doubling of commercial airplane fleet and flights by 2031. This will require many constrained airports to increase capacity. In some regions of the world, particularly Europe, airport communities have already strongly expressed concerns about the environmental effects especially due to noise of increased operations and airport expansion (e.g. setback of the plans for a new runway at Munich airport by public vote through the local community). Therefore further efforts are required to reach the goals of reducing the environmental impact due to noise by -11 dB in 2035, where ENOVAL will contribute up to a value of -1.3 dB.

ENOVAL does not directly develop technologies to reduce NOx, CO, UHC and smoke emissions. However, together with the LEMCOTEC project for core technologies including lean burn systems and increased combustion, and the E-BREAK project for key enabling technologies, ENOVAL enables high OPR to achieve an overall system improvement and thus contributing to the reduction of said emissions.

European economy and society

Aviation is recognised as one of the top five advanced technology sectors in Europe. It provides close to nine million skilled jobs, directly and indirectly, and contributes €600 billion to Europe’s GDP2. Air transport is a basic factor for economic growth and the connectivity required by business, tourism and leisure. A sustainable mobility is essential for Europe’s economic development and social well-being. Societal acceptance of increased air travel and the associated impact of transport infrastructure and operations in the proximity of airports need to be assured.

ENOVAL addresses the environmental aspects of noise and air quality. It thus indirectly contributes to meeting societal needs for mobility while helping to increase the acceptance of such mobility impacts in local communities in the proximity of airports. This contribution is in line with EU policy aiming at reducing emissions from the aviation sector to address the above-mentioned market and societal needs.

Competitive Europe

In the last decades European aviation has successfully become a world leader through the combined efforts of public and private European entities, including major companies, SMEs as well as academia and research laboratories. However, competition is becoming ever more challenging not only from established competitors such as the United States, but also from the so-called emerging economies (e.g. BRIC – Brazil, Russia, India, China, etc.). Even though the global aviation market is growing, Europe must ensure the continued success and economic contribution of its aviation industry by investing continuously and heavily in key enabling concepts, technologies and systems.

Fuel prices are an almost inalterable factor to be mainly addressed by more efficient aircraft and engines: In 2001, fuel costs represented 13% of the total operating costs, whereas today the percentage amounts to approx. 33%. Forecasts for 2031 see the percentage further increasing to 40%. Delivering engine technologies that will reduce fuel consumption will consequently make the European aviation industry more competitive and enable the sector to maintain its position against US competitors (and sometimes partners) who are making similar efforts. The European aviation sector will strengthen its leadership against newcomers who cannot break the technology barriers set out through decades of continuous R&D investments in Europe.

In terms of financial impact for airline operators, the saving in fuel expected from ENOVAL together with ongoing parallel initiatives should lead to significant operating cost reduction. As an example, annual fuel costs for an A320 flying around 3,000 hours (2 hours each flight with costs per gallon at $2.90 (today’s cost) amounts to approx. $8 million3. A reduction of 5% in fuel consumption results in a significant saving of about $ 400,000 or 138,000 gallons of fuel a year, a saving that will increase relatively over the years with regard to the ever increasing fuel price.

In light of the expected development of passenger traffic, which is foreseen to double or even triple in the next 20 years, airport authorities will need to expand capacity to keep up with current and future demand. The environmental impact of aviation is most obvious at and around airports. In order to provide more capacity, airports have to address the pressure of local communities to manage and mitigate the impact of the traffic. Regulators will continue to take steps to reduce aircraft noise through the introduction of noise limits and flying restrictions, resulting in increased use of the most silent aircraft types. Europe’s airports are consequently supporting further research and innovation on aircraft noise levels (as well as local air quality and the emission of greenhouse gases)4.

ENOVAL technologies together with further technologies developed in other European technology projects  e.g. OPENAIR are key enablers in supporting the traffic growth in a manner well-accepted by local communities, and in addressing potential restrictions to be put in place against high noise aircraft.

ENOVAL, which represents the vast majority of the European engine industry and research institutions, will contribute to achieving these economic objectives by developing enabling technologies towards cleaner and quieter aircraft according to Flightpath 2050 goals. ENOVAL will strengthen the competitiveness of the European engine industry by enabling it to deliver the best products and services worldwide. This will allow the industry to maintain a share of more than 40% of its global market by retaining leading edge design, manufacturing and system integration capabilities and developing technologies up to full-scale demonstrators.

 


1 See "Global Market Forecast 2012-2031, Navigating the future, Airbus 2012" as well as "Current Market Outlook 2012-2031, Boeing 2012"

2 SRIA Vol. I, page 10

3 “Getting to grips with A320 family performance retention and fuel savings”, Airbus, January 2008

4 “An Outlook for Europe’s Airports, Facing the Challenges of the 21st Century”, Airports Council International, 2010