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European Commission issues call for clean aviation partnerships

Accepting proposals targeting hybrid electric and hydrogen-powered aircraft in 2 demonstration programs to deliver impact by 2030.
#cleansky #nextgenaerospace #sustainability

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Source | © Raul Mellado Ortiz, Dreamstime.com

The European Commission opened a Call for Expressions of Ideas/Potential Members (CEI) on August 26, 2020 that is open to interested technology stakeholders with transformative ideas or concepts in the field of clean aviation contributing to the European Green Deal (EGD) goals. The EGD proposed by the European Commission will include the first European Climate Law to confirm the 2050 climate-neutrality objective in legislation.

The “Partnership on Clean Aviation”, envisaged under Horizon Europe, aims to accelerate the development and demonstration of integrated aircraft technologies towards deep decarbonization while ensuring safety and security. It will help to increase the focus on sustainability goals, environmentally friendly technologies and engage new stakeholders in the field of electrification and digitalization.

The Call for Expressions of Ideas document lists three expected outcomes:

  • Disruptive technologies for a hybrid electric regional aircraft.
  • Disruptive technologies for an ultra‑efficient short and medium-range aircraft (SMR).
  • Disruptive technologies to enable hydrogen-powered aircraft.

The first two will be achieved through two pivotal aircraft demonstration programs which will enable the integration of technologies and provide a clear validation of the aircraft environmental impact achievable by 2030.

Hydrogen-powered aviation report cover

Source | June 22, 2020 press release by Clean Sky 2

Note that Clean Sky 2 published its report, “Hydrogen-powered aviation” in June 2020, noting: “Novel and disruptive aircraft, aero-engine and systems innovations in combination with hydrogen technologies can help to reduce the global warming effect of flying by 50 to 90%.”

See a replay of the associated Clean Sky 2 webinar.

The European Commission is particularly interested in receiving ideas that exploit synergies with sectors outside of traditional aviation, such as experts in full and/or hybrid-electric power plants, hydrogen propulsion, etc. Decades of experience in highly safety-critical applications of hydrogen technologies in other sectors can serve as an important stepping-stone for aviation.

The Call for Expressions of Ideas document also states that the proposed Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking should focus on the most promising pathways and technologies that are able to foster the introduction of new products and deliver impact by 2030.

Eligible applications will be submitted by a consortium of at least three legal entities (large industry, SME, research organization, academia, etc.) or by clusters (applying as single legal entity) which are established in an EU Member State or Horizon 2020 Associate Country.

Applicants have until November 30, 2020 to submit their proposals and all documents can be found at https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/new-call-ideas-clean-aviation-partnerships-2020-aug-26_en

Further background from the EU call document is given below:

The task facing the aviation sector, in this and the next decades, is to develop and introduce safe, reliable and affordable low-to-zero emission air transport for citizens and to ensure Europe’s industrial leadership is maintained and strengthened throughout the relevant transition to climate-neutrality.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the aviation industry, affecting passenger traffic, air cargo demand, airport workforce and incoming revenues. This crisis will have a lasting impact and the market will take years, perhaps a decade, to return to pre-crisis levels. The actual consequences for the sector will depend on the duration and magnitude of the outbreak and containment measures, the degree of consumer confidence for air travel and economic conditions, etc.

Horizon Europe, the EU’s future research and innovation (R&I) framework program for 2021-2027, will include R&I activities to support civil aviation. A relevant part of these R&I activities may take place in the potential European Partnership for Clean Aviation proposed for Horizon Europe. The main aim of the proposed Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking will be to contribute to the reduction of aviation’s ecological footprint by accelerating the development of climate-neutral aviation technologies. These technologies should be deployed as soon as possible, to allow for a significant contribution to the achievement of the EGD objective of no net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, whilst ensuring high levels of safety, and maintaining the competitiveness of Europe.

The Next Generation EU recovery plan agreed by the European Council on July 21, 2020 will provide a comprehensive framework of financial support to the Member States to recover from the crisis while stimulating key investments to meet the EGD objectives and the 2050 climate neutrality goals.

Horizon Europe (HE) will be reinforced with €5 billion to fund vital research in health, resilience and the green and digital transitions. Part of this additional amount will contribute to the recovery plan by supporting the industrial sectors mainly affected by the crisis.

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