Boeing unveils new 777 ‘ecoDemonstrator’ test aircraft

(CNN) – The American aircraft manufacturer Boeing has just unveiled its new ecoDemonstrator aircraft for 2022 – a redesigned, 20-year-old 777-200ER, which will be tasked with testing new technologies aimed at more sustainable and safer air travel.

The ecoDemonstrator is reported to be undergoing a six-month series of tests both on earth and in the sky, starting this summer.

Among the 30 or so technologies identified for testing during the campaign include projects designed to reduce fuel use, emissions and noise, while including more sustainable materials.

For example, Boeing is collaborating with NASA to produce SMART vortex generators – small vertical wing blades designed to improve aerodynamic efficiency during takeoff and landing.

Other projects include a system designed to save gray water on board – the water washed in the sink will be used to flush toilets, which also reduces the weight of the aircraft.

The aircraft will also be used to test “environmentally friendly” refrigerant, a new fire-fighting agent to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and an improved vision system for pilots to improve operational efficiency.

Meanwhile, Boeing will continue its comprehensive study on the impact of sustainable aviation fuel on reducing emissions.

The aircraft manufacturer says the team plans to power the 777-200ER throughout its test period using a 30/70 blend. sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and conventional jet fuel.

Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program was launched a decade ago and took the technology out of the lab to test it in an operational environment.

He tested a total of about 230 technologies “to help decarbonise aviation, improve operational efficiency and improve passenger safety and experience”.

The Boeing 2022 ecoDemonstrator will test 30 technologies to increase safety and resilience.

The Boeing 2022 ecoDemonstrator will test 30 technologies to increase safety and resilience.

Boeing

The 2022 ecoDemonstrator, registration number N861BC, was first delivered to Singapore Airlines in 2002, after which he spent some time flying with Air New Zealand and Suriname Airways in his 20-year life.

It is repainted with an earthy theme, which according to Boeing symbolizes a decade of tests to reduce fuel use, emissions and noise.

“Boeing is committed to supporting our customers and enabling the commercial aviation industry to meet our shared commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050,” said Stan Deal, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in a statement.

“Strict testing of new technologies from the ecoDemonstrator program further improves the environmental performance of our products and services and is invaluable for continuous safety improvement.”

A statement from Boeing said that approximately one-third of these tested technologies were already included in its products and services.

The aviation industry has long insisted on creating a more sustainable air environment in the face of growing criticism.

Various reports from industrial observers and environmental groups estimate that aviation generates 2-3% of global CO2 emissions.

At its annual meeting in October 2021, IATA, the International Air Transport Association, announced a resolution in support of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

At this year’s IATA General Assembly in Doha, Qatar, June 19-21, the Focus on Sustainability session will address relevant industrial issues, including disposable plastics, SAF and sustainability challenges – including net zero carbon emissions by 2050

Many airlines have already promised to offer carbon-neutral flights and explore alternative fuels to reduce pollution.

Earlier this month, the Spanish airline Air Nostrum announced this ordering 10 new hybrid airships. The Airlander 10 is scheduled to be delivered by 2026. Manufactured by the UK-based Hybrid Air Vehicles, airships could reduce emissions by 90%, according to the company.

Picture above: Boeing 2022 ecoDemonstrator. Credit: Boeing

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