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Embraer unveils new aircraft concepts using renewable energy including hydrogen

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In an effort to help the aviation sector meet its target of zero carbon emissions by 2050, Embraer has unveiled a new family of concept aircraft.

To better understand energy harvesting, storage, thermal management, and their applications for sustainable aircraft propulsion, the company has teamed with a worldwide consortium of engineering universities, aeronautical research institutes, and small and medium-sized industries.

Concept aircraft of diverse sizes and propulsion technology make up the family’s four members: electric, hydrogen fuel cell, dual-fuel gas turbine and hybrid-electric aircraft.

The technical and commercial viability of each aircraft is being assessed.

Luis Carlos Affonso, Embraer’s Sr. VP of Engineering, Technology and Corporate Strategy, explained the rationale for the Energia family. “We see our role as a developer of novel technologies to help the industry achieve its sustainability targets. There’s no easy or single solution in getting to net zero. New technologies and their supporting infrastructure will come online over time. We’re working right now to refine the first airplane concepts, the ones that can start reducing emissions sooner rather than later. Small aircraft are ideal on which to test and prove new propulsion technologies so that they can be scaled up to larger aircraft. That’s why our Energia family is such an important platform.”

Arjan Meijer, President and CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation, commented on the company´s strategy regarding sustainability “We will see a big transformation in our industry towards a more sustainable aviation. With 50 years experience in developing, certifying and supporting regional aircraft, Embraer is in a unique position to make viable the introduction of new disruptive green technologies.”

Embraer has already made progress in decreasing emissions from its aircraft, even if the Energia aircraft are still in the conceptual stages. SAF, a mixture of sugarcane and camelina plant-derived fuels and fossil fuel, has been tested on the E-Jet family. By 2030, all Embraer aircraft are expected to be SAF-compatible, according to the company’s plans. A single-engine Embraer EMB-203 Ipanema powered entirely by electricity took to the skies in August of last year as Embraer’s Electric Demonstrator. The company’s eVTOL, a fully-electric, zero-emissions vertical takeoff and landing vehicle, is being built to enter service in 2026 after a hydrogen fuel cell demonstrator flew this year.

Anela Dokso

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