In the world, there are over 1,400 airlines.  Airplane ridership in some markets has grown exponentially in recent years and shows no sign of decline for the foreseeable future.  If lowering carbon emissions for the airline industry wasn’t previously a priority, it is now.  Recently, representatives from all over the world convened in Montreal to discuss the possibilities for lowering carbon emissions in aircrafts for the next three decades.  The aerospace community continues to explore the alternative energy opportunities available in aviation.

Achievements in sustainability

In Maryland, researchers began working on a solar-powered helicopter.  The effort started in 2014, and in August, the helicopter completed its first flight.  The aircraft, powered by solar panels and rotor blade mechanical components, carried a passenger for nine seconds.  The team is currently working to improve the electronic control systems to extend that interval.

NASA continues to work on its electric aircraft.  The “Maxwell” plane will be tested in flight some time next year.  The system will be powered by 14 electric motors.  Aside from reduced fuel consumption, the electric airplane’s propulsion technology system will result in quieter operation.  The sole source of energy for the aircraft will be batteries, which will help reduce reliance on traditional fuels if widely adopted.

In September, researchers at the DLR Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics succeeded in getting the HY4 aircraft to remain airborne for an impressive 10 minutes.  German researchers worked on the electric aircraft’s powertrain system components and frame to accomplish this feat.  The four-seat passenger aircraft was powered by a hydrogen fuel cell system, which consisted of three batteries.

The navy has tested alternative fuels for use in its aircrafts.  The fuel has to accomplish two major objectives in order to become a viable alternative source of energy for aircrafts.  The fuel has to be transparent and perform identically to other fuels without impacting any system components.  The JP-5 biofuel alternative for aircrafts performed well in preliminary testing in August.  By 2020, the use of these alternative biofuels will be commonplace.

Sustainability, efficiency and greener technologies have been major concerns for the aerospace industry for some time.  As these aircraft system technologies continue to evolve, Dixien’s commitment to meeting these new industry performance requirements with reliable parts and components will remain.  Dixien, LLC has worked with major aircraft manufacturers like Gulfstream and Saft in the past, and will continue to support advancements in greener technologies.