Boeing, Embraer collaboration tests the latest in aerospace innovation

The ecoDemonstrator project was developed to improve airplane environmental performance.

0 July 12, 2016

Aerospace giants Boeing and Embraer are showing off the latest phase of their collaboration project. The Boeing ecoDemonstrator project tests new technologies to help improve the environmental performance of aircraft and help bring these innovations to the market faster.

EcoDemonstrator Boeing EmbraerThe latest features will be tested on an Embraer E170 and will undergo operational testing in Brazil later this summer. The innovations were designed to reduce carbon emissions, fuel use and noise.

The ecoDemonstrator project began in 2012 when Boeing and Embraer joined forces to help benefit their customers and the global aerospace industry.

The collaboration is currently testing several new technologies for use in commercial aircraft design. The ecoDemonstrator is currently exploring LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology. This will allow lasers to measure air data parameters such as true airspeed, angle of attack and outside air temperature. LIDAR shows potential to increase air data reliability by complementing current sensors, which could lead to further innovations that improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

A new “ice phobic” paint design was included in the testing to help prevent accumulation of dirt and bugs due to its low adhesive property. The special paint can help operators save water by reducing the need for frequent aircraft washing.

The ecoDemonstrator also includes special sensors and air visualization techniques near the wing surface to better understand in-flight aerodynamics. This analysis could lead to further innovations to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, such as new wing designs. The team is also testing a new wing design that offers improved slats, reducing noise on takeoff and approach.

Lastly, a Brazilian-produced biofuel blend made up of 10 percent bio-kerosene and 90 percent fossil kerosene, the maximum mixture according to international standards is being tested. Studies have shown that sustainably produced aviation biofuel emits 50 to 80 percent lower carbon emissions through its life cycle than fossil jet fuel.

The highly successful collaboration has tested over 50 technologies. The ecoDemonstrator program has used Next-Gen 737-800 (2012), 787 (2014) and 757 (2015) as flying testbeds.

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