SAS and Airbus agree collaboration on 18-month hybrid and electric aircraft research project
The Airbus E-Thrust hybrid-electric airliner concept
Thu 23 May 2019 – Airbus and SAS Scandinavian Airlines have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on a hybrid and electric aircraft research project. The initiative aims to build knowledge of the opportunities and challenges regarding the operational and infrastructure requirements involved with a large-scale introduction of hybrid and full electric aircraft in commercial traffic. The scope of the project, which starts next month and will run until the end of 2020, includes five work packages that focus on analysing the impact of ground infrastructure and charging on range, resources, time and availability at airports. Airbus is currently working with Rolls-Royce and Siemens on the E-Fan X hybrid-electric flight demonstrator project that is seen as an important step towards electric flight for commercial aircraft.
The aircraft manufacturer said the new project with SAS would further strengthen its research efforts that included developing hybrid-electric and electric propulsion technologies that promise significant environmental benefits. This includes current testing of innovative hybrid propulsion systems, subsystems and components in order to address log-term efficiency goals for building and operating electric aircraft.
The collaboration with SAS also includes a plan to involve a renewable energy supplier, so far unnamed, “to ensure genuine zero CO2 emissions are assessed,” said an Airbus statement. “This multidisciplinary approach – from energy to infrastructure – aims to address the entire aircraft operations ecosystem in order to better support the aviation industry’s transition to sustainable energy.”
SAS said its goal is to reduce emissions by 25% by 2030, mainly through modernising its fleet and the use of biofuels, but saw electric aircraft as the next step beyond current technology.
“We are proud of our ambitious sustainability work and are pleased that Airbus has chosen SAS to partner with us for this future project,” said SAS CEO Rickard Gustafson.
The MoU was signed by Grazia Vittadini, Chief Technology Officer at Airbus, and Göran Jansson, EVP Strategy & Ventures, SAS.