Airbus and SAS sign MoU for hybrid and electric aircraft research

The MoU agreement was signed by Grazia Vittadini, chief technology officer, Airbus, and Goran Jansson, deputy president of EVP Strategy & Ventures, Scandinavian Airlines
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Described as a serial hybrid propulsion system, the EThrust is a distributed propulsion system that features a numerous electric fans arranged in clusters along the length of each wing. A battery powers the fans which is also charged by an onboard advanced gas power unit.
Described as a serial hybrid propulsion system, the EThrust is a distributed propulsion system that features a numerous electric fans arranged in clusters along the length of each wing. A battery powers the fans which is also charged by an onboard advanced gas power unit.

As part of the many topics discussed at this year’s Airbus Innovation Days, the French aerospace manufacturer revealed that it had inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Scandinavian Ailrines (SAS) for research into hybrid and electric aircraft systems and infrastructure requirements.

The agreement, which was previously signed by Grazia Vittadini, chief technology officer, Airbus, and Goran Jansson, deputy president of EVP Strategy & Ventures, Scandinavian Airlines, will go into effect from June 2019. The collaboration is expected to then continue until the close of 2020.

As per the MoU, the two parties will work closely together on a joint research project that will explore the operational and infrastructure opportunities, as well as the challenges associated with the large-scale introduction of hybrid and full electric aircraft, for airlines and their respective operations.

“It's not enough to build a zero-emission aircraft. We need to be able to operate it in a given environment. And so this MoU will be about analysing the impact of ground infrastructure and logistical charging and refuelling impact on the range, resources, on-time, and availability at airports,” Vittadini told reporters during Airbus Innovation Days.

“We are proud to be in this joint undertaking, also with Scandinavian universities and renewable energy suppliers in the equation as well,” she added.

Part of the plan includes the involvement of a renewable energy supplier, who will be instrumental ino ensuring zero CO2 emissions operations are accessed.

Despite the fact that aircraft have become 80% more fuel efficient per passenger kilometre over the past 50 years, the rising demand of air travel continues to grow and will likely double within the next 20 years.

To tackle this issue, the Global Aviation Industry (ATAG), which includes Airbus and SAS, have committed themselves to achieving carbon-neutral growth for the aviation industry as a whole from 2020 onwards. The goal is to drastically reduce aviation net emissions by 50% by 2050 (as compared to 2005).

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