A new Partnership for Clean Aviation ahead

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

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On 23 February 2021, the European Commission announced its proposal for 10 future European Partnerships, with a European Partnership for Clean Aviation amongst them.

These partnerships combine public and private funding to speed up the transition towards a green, climate neutral and digital Europe, and will make European industry more resilient and competitive. All in all, the EU will invest €10 billion in the partnerships, which will then be matched by industry.

The European Partnership for Clean Aviation will build on the work done to date by the Clean Sky and Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertakings, pursuing innovative and impactful research to ensure climate neutrality by 2050. The goal is to minimise the aviation sector’s environmental impact, as part of the European Green Recovery priority of the European Union.

To reach the ambitious climate objectives, and in close collaboration with the European Commission, the European aeronautics sector has worked out a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda for Clean Aviation, spanning 2021-2031.

Three main thrusts will be pursued as part of the Clean Aviation programme: hybrid electric and full electric concepts, ultra-efficient aircraft architectures, and disruptive technologies to enable hydrogen-powered aircraft. These will aim to culminate in a new breed of regional, short haul and short/medium haul airliners which will be offered to the market by 2030 for an entry into service by 2035. These new aircraft are likely to constitute 75% of the world’s commercial airline fleet by 2050 and thus will have a major impact on aviation’s emissions and climate impact.

We need faster, more disruptive innovations and a rapid influx and integration of key emerging technologies, including promising solutions from other sectors, to secure climate-neutral aviation. Clean Sky has built the foundations for some of these technologies already – visit our online stand to see our most recent innovations, and learn from our engineers about their revolutionary work.

The European Commission’s announcement is an important step towards achieving our goal. Faced with the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, we must take this opportunity to re-imagine the aviation industry – in a sustainable and green way. Clean Sky is committed to supporting a sustainable economic recovery while making climate-neutrality a reality, in line with the European Green Deal. That is in fact the subject of our Spring Event: Clean Aviation for a Competitive Green Recovery in Europe: Innovative Ideas Take Flight – join us online on 22 April from 14:00 to 17:00 CET, to discuss the key challenges and solutions with high-level European politicians, aviation industry CEOs, and leaders of aviation innovation.

Standing on the shoulders of the work done to date in the Clean Sky programmes, Clean Aviation will accelerate the development of disruptive technologies through simulations and integrated demonstrations of novel aircraft and propulsion configurations and systems at the aircraft platform level. It will be a core European programme, leveraged by further activities funded at national, regional and private levels. Driven by a common goal, this will allow European aviation to fully contribute to a climate-neutral Europe by 2050, in line with the European Green Deal.

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