Embraer, Widerøe and Rolls-Royce have today announced plans to study a conceptual zero-emission regional aircraft. The 12-month cooperation study – in the context of pre-competitive research and development – will address passenger requirements to stay connected in a post Covid-19 world, but do so sustainably, and seeks to accelerate the knowledge of the technologies necessary for this transition. Such technologies will allow national governments to continue to support passenger mobility while reusing most of the existing infrastructure in a more sustainable way.
Advances in scientific research can make clean and renewable energy a major enabler of a new era of regional aviation and the three companies will share their combined in-depth knowledge of aircraft design, market demand, operations and propulsion solutions to further develop their understanding of zero-emission technologies and how they can be matured and applied to future regional aircraft.
Among other topics, the study will cover a wide range of applications for new propulsion technologies to examine a range of potential solutions – including all-electric, hydrogen fuel cell or hydrogen fueled gas turbine powered aircraft.
Arjan Meijer, President and CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation, said: “Technological innovations can potentially enable clean and renewable energy to power a new era of regional aviation. The aim of our collaboration is to create new flight solutions that serve expanded market segments in a sustainable manner. I strongly believe this could lead to fully sustainable connectivity, including (very) short haul intercity operations.”
Andreas Aks, CEO of Widerøe Zero, a subsidiary of Widerøe AS, said: “We are excited to take part in this highly interesting research. Working with the world’s leading aerospace technology firms, our aim is to understand how viable business can be built around zero emissions regional concepts, and to advise the manufacturers on operational requirements and customer expectations to design the best possible and sustainable air mobility service.”
Chris Cholerton, President – Civil Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, said: “This is an exciting project which will shape our thinking on solutions for net-zero regional operation. As pioneers of power, this is the kind of engineering challenge that we relish. We have an excellent working relationship with both Embraer and Wideroe, and look forward to deepening our collaboration.”