For the past decade, Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program has accelerated using nine aircraft as flying test beds for the program since it began in 2012. The latest ecoDemonstrator is a Boeing-owned 777-200ER.
About 30 projects include technologies that improve sustainability and safety for the aerospace industry, from water conservation, operational efficiency, manufacturing, sustainable aviation fuel and an enhanced vision system for pilots.
Over the past decade, the program has helped to solve real-world challenges for airlines, passengers and the environment. Recently, Boeing committed that all commercial airplanes it delivers will be certified for the capability to fly using 100% sustainable aviation fuel by 2030. This move supports the civil aviation industry’s commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The ecoDemonstrator program will have evaluated 230 technologies and have also tested cabin amenities that improve the passenger experience such as smart galleys and UV 2 disinfection.
Newly delivered Boeing aircraft include a number of technologies that were evaluated and proven on the ecoDemonstrator program;
- Efficient winglets on the 737 MAX
- iPad apps information to pilots
- Custom approach and lower noise
- Flight deck touch-screen displays and a camera system for pilots.
Boeing has tested and further developed the use of sustainable aviation fuel to reduce life-cycle CO2 emissions by up to 80%.
Together, the team and technologists focus on 3 a singular motto — “innovate, collaborate, accelerate” — to ensure they’re supporting one another and the constant evolution of new ideas.
- 2012: American Airlines 737-800
- 2014: Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
- 2015: TUI 757
- 2016: Embraer E170
- 2018: FedEx 777 Freighter
- 2019 Boeing 777-200
- 2020: Etihad Airways 787-10
- 2021: Alaska Airlines 737-9
- 2022-2024: Boeing 777-200ER
Boeing is also focusing on reducing weight on aircraft, which saves fuel and reduce waste in the manufacturing process. Working with NASA on SMART vortex generators by small vertical vanes on the wing that improve aerodynamic efficiency during takeoff and landing. Shape memory alloys developed in collaboration with NASA will enable the vortex generators to retract into the wing during cruise, improving fuel efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.
Boeing is testing the discharge performance of a new fire suppression agent for an aircraft’s cargo compartment in flight to eliminate the use of Halon 1301.
Boeing is also testing several technologies aimed at improving operational efficiency, including a capability that can improve situational awareness for pilots during airplane taxiing. This includes combining airport data sources with Jeppesen airport maps to enable single-engine taxi operations to reduce fuel consumption.
Developing a new air chiller that uses an environmentally-preferred refrigerant, replacing the existing non-friendly environmental systems currently used.
“The Boeing ecoDemonstrator program brings together the two most important ingredients to a more sustainable future – innovative technologies and partnerships with customers, suppliers, government agencies and academia,” said Chris Raymond, Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer. “We celebrate the past successes and look forward to continuing this iconic program to help decarbonize aviation, together.”
Approximately a third of tested technologies have progressed onto Boeing’s products and services.
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For Boeing’s sustainability commitments and partnerships: