Boeing today announced the 2023 plan for its ecoDemonstrator flight-test program. The mission aims to assess 19 technologies on its current Boeing 777 ecoDemonstrator and add “Explorer” airplanes to focus on testing specific technologies.
The first ecoDemonstrator Explorer will be a Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner. In June, the jet will conduct flight tests to demonstrate how coordinating aircraft navigation across multiple international airspace jurisdictions will reduce emissions. The data will be collected on flights from Seattle to Tokyo, Singapore, and Bangkok with the hopes that it can improve operational efficiency by lowering the airplane’s fuel use and emissions up to 10%
What will it do?
The Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner will utilize existing onboard capabilities to work with air navigation service providers in the US, Japan, Singapore, and Thailand. The united team will collectively sequence the airplane’s upcoming flight routes to achieve the optimal path across multiple airspace regions, factoring in variables including weather, air traffic, and airspace closures.
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The airplane will fly on the highest available blend of sustainable aviation fuel at each stop on its journey. Stan Deal, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes explained how the new technologies work in harmony to find the solutions needed to reach our climate objectives:
“To support our industry’s goal for net zero carbon emissions by 2050, Boeing is expanding our ecoDemonstrator program with Explorer airplanes to test even more sustainability-focused technologies.
“We continue to invest in innovation that reduces fuel use, emissions and noise on our products and to partner with governments and industry to make progress on sustainability during each phase of flight.”
Building on the past decade
This year, Boeing will continue to fly its current flagship ecoDemonstrator airplane. The Boeing 777-200ER (Extended Range) tests 19 sustainability technologies at the moment. One of the highlights is the sustainable wall panels fitted in the cargo hold are made from 40% recycled carbon fiber and 60% resin derived from bio-based feedstock. A fiber optic fuel quantity sensor is also undergoing testing to ensure it is compatible with 100% SAF.
Beginning in 2012, Boeing sent newly developed technologies out of the lab and tested them in an operational environment through its ecoDemonstrator program. The program will have tried about 250 technologies to help decarbonize aviation, improve operational efficiency and enhance safety and passenger experiences by the end of its 2023 plan.
Around one-third of the technologies tested in the program have progressed onto Boeing’s products and services. Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond highlighted the importance of teamwork at today’s announcement:
“The industry will need continued fleet renewal, efficiency gains, renewable energy carriers such as sustainable aviation fuel and advanced technology to meet the civil aviation industry’s commitment to achieve net zero carbon emission by 2050.
“Our initial Explorer testing in partnership with aviation stakeholders in four countries is a great example of how we can work together to optimize operational efficiency and reduce emissions.”
This Dreamliner is the latest in a long list of ecoDemonstrator aircraft. The 2021 iteration of Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program saw the manufacturer team up with Alaska Airlines to provide the services of one of its future 737 MAX 9 models for the scheme.