Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 47. eVTOL traffic

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 25, 2022, ©. Leeham News: We have gone through the flight principles for different eVTOLs, the critical systems such as battery systems and flight controls, their energy consumption/performance, and how green they are compared to other ways of getting to an airport.

This is all about the flying vehicle. But it’s only part of the system needed for this transport system to work and be safe. We now discuss the other bits needed.

Figure 1. The JFK, Newark, and Manhattan airspace. Click for a detailed view. Source: Foreflight.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 46. eVTOL comparison with helicopter

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 18, 2022, ©. Leeham News: In the comments to last week’s Corner, there were requests for a comparison with a helicopter re. Sustainability (kWh/km). Here you go.

I also threw in a cost of operations discussion, as the helicopter is the present alternative to an eVTOL for city-to-airport air transports.

Figure 1. The Robinson R66 five-seat helicopter. Source: Wikipedia.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 43P. eVTOL IFR range. The deeper discussion.

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October 28, 2022, ©. Leeham News: This is a complementary article to Part 43, eVTOL IFR range. It discusses the typical maximum range we can expect from a certified eVTOL when it faces IFR weather conditions.

Flying in IFR conditions requires flight planning with increased reserves if the eVTOL can’t land at the destination airport and must divert to an alternate airport.

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EASA: SAF production must increase dramatically to meet climate goals

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By BRYAN CORLISS

Oct. 3, 2022, © Leeham News: Aviation is “a key vulnerable economic sector that is only in the early stage of adaptation to climate change,” according to a new report from EASA, the European Union’s Aviation Safety Agency.

To meet the industry’s environmental challenges – and there are several — more must be done to identify the hazards and risks that extreme weather events caused by climate change can bring to the industry, the report says.

The report also recommends that more needs to be done to plan for the impact of extreme weather on aircraft and airline infrastructure. The industry and regulators also need to “identify and apply ‘win-win’ solutions” to reduce carbon dioxide and other emissions from airliners, and to accelerate the deployment of aircraft and air traffic control technology to improve the efficiency of Europe’s airline fleet.

The good news in the report is that researchers believe aviation could cut emissions by 69% by 2050 by adopting a suite of changes, including increased use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), improved aircraft technology, better operational practices and by using hydrogen or electric motors to power aircraft where feasible.

Summary
  • Production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel must increase dramatically.
  • Airline emissions are going up as a percentage of contribution to climate impact.
  • In another blow to Boom’s claim its SST will be environmentally friendly, EASA takes a different view about SSTs.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 38. Piloting the VTOL

By Bjorn Fehrm

September 23, 2022, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we looked into the hardware needed for the Flight Control System (FCS) of the eVTOLs in development.

We could see the redundancy of the FCS had to be extensive as the tricky hover to forward flight transition demanded a full-time Fly By Wire concept with no direct mode backup.

Yet the FCS hardware demands are not the main problem of a safe eVTOL FCS. The pilot interaction is. Not because it’s tricky. Because every project does it their way.

Figure 1. Pilot flying the Joby S4 simulator. Source: Joby Aviation.

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ICAO report outlines steps to reduce aviation’s carbon output

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By BRYAN CORLISS

Sept. 5, 2022, © Leeham News: Saying the climate crisis now is at “Code Red for Humanity,” the UN-sponsored International Civil Aviation Organization is calling on nations and companies to increase their investments toward techniques and technologies that can reduce aviation’s climate impact.

It won’t be easy, ICAO said in its Environmental Report 2022, which was released in July. 

The aviation industry will be one of the hardest to ween off carbon-based forms of energy, a recent report concluded. 

“Scaling the production of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and other energy sources requires substantial investment and financial support from both fuel suppliers and governments on top of what would be needed for associated infrastructural changes,” the report said. “This is particularly important, considering that the drop-in fuels have the largest potential to reduce the overall emission from international aviation by 2050.”
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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 33P. eVTOL batteries. The deeper discussion.

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August 19, 2022, ©. Leeham News: This is a complementary article to Part 33, eVTOL batteries. It discusses the trickiest system on an eVTOL, the battery system.

While Lithium Ion batteries have come a long way since the electric flight ideas took off in 2015, the battery system is still the biggest challenge for eVTOL designers, not only for total energy content but for a range of parameters.

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Sustainability progress “depends on where you snap the line”

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By Scott Hamilton

July 11, 2022, © Leeham News: When it comes to sustainable aviation, what’s real and what’s greenwashing, “it depends on where you snap the line,” says a managing director at the consultancy Accenture.

John Schmidt heads up Accenture’s Aerospace and Defense Global Industry consultancy. Schmidt briefed LNA ahead of the Farnborough Air Show, which begins next week.

The background

John Schmidt

At the Annual General Meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Boston last October, IATA adopted a 2050 timeline goal for meeting targets to reduce aviation emissions. Tim Clark, the president and COO of Emirates Airline was on the panel with Stan Deal and Guillaume Faury, the CEOs of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Airbus Group. The panel outlined goals for using Sustainable Aviation Fuel and reducing CO2 emissions, among other things. Clark, however, warned, “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”

In a previous interview with LNA, Clark estimated the commercial aviation industry will need trillions of dollars to meet the 2050 goal. It’s money the industry doesn’t have. This begs the question: is there a certain amount of greenwashing going on?

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 26. VTOLs.

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 1, 2022, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we finished our discussions around Fuel Cell-based airliners using hydrogen as fuel.

We could see the technology has true zero emissions, but the maturity of the many parts needed (hydrogen tank and fuel system, multi-MegaWatt class aeronautical fuel cells, motors, and controls) are not there. We are in the crawling before walk stage with sub-MegaWatt systems to make their first flights over the next years.

Another area claiming Green credentials is the VTOL space. Because these are based on electric technology, VTOLs are claimed as environmentally friendly and a good way to transport people.

We will analyze this industry and its claims of being an efficient, environmentally friendly way of transportation.

Figure 1. Joby S4, the VTOL project that has come the furthest. Source: Joby Aviation.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 25. High Temperature Fuel Cell-based 70-seat airliner

By Bjorn Fehrm

June 24, 2022, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we discussed how a High Temperature Fuel Cell (HTFC) could improve the installation of a propulsion system in our 70-seat airliner. We now add this variant to the systems we examined for installation effects and efficiencies.

The deeper discussion is in the sister article, Part 25P. High Temperature Fuel Cell-based 70-seat airliner.

Figure 1. The ATR 72-600 70-seater turboprop. Source: ATR.

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