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American Airlines to be launch customer for Boeing ecoDemonstrator program; flight testing a range of new technologies to reduce fuel consumption, emissions and noise

American Airlines will be the launch customer for Boeing’s evolutionary ecoDemonstrator Program, in which a Boeing Next-Generation 737-800 aircraft will be used to flight test and accelerate the market readiness of emerging technologies to help reduce fuel consumption, carbon emissions and community noise.

The American Airlines 737-800, and a twin-aisle airplane that will be announced at a later date, are serving as the flight test component for the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Continuous Lower Energy Emissions Noise (CLEEN) program, along with other technologies developed by Boeing and other industry partners.

Announced in 2010, the Boeing ecoDemonstrator Program is intended to reduce entry-to-market risk for new aviation technologies. The two ecoDemonstrators will build upon the 2005 Quiet Technology Demonstrator (QTD2) program that helped both the Boeing 747-8 and 787 Dreamliner exceed international standards for noise emissions.

The program also builds on the CLEEN program foundation. Technologies in development for the FAA CLEEN program include ceramic matrix composite acoustic engine nozzles, advanced inlets, and adaptive wing trailing edge flaps that can help reduce fuel consumption and noise during the take-off, climb and landing phases of flight.

CLEEN’s goals include developing and demonstrating by 2015:

  • Aircraft technology that reduces aircraft fuel burn by 33% relative to current subsonic aircraft technology, and which reduces energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions;

  • Engine technology that reduces landing and takeoff cycle (LTO) nitrogen oxide emissions by 60%, without increasing other gaseous or particle emissions, over the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard adopted in 2004;

  • Certifiable aircraft technology that reduces noise levels by 32 dB cumulative, relative to the current Stage 4 noise standard; and

  • The extent to which new engine and aircraft technologies may be used to retrofit or re-engine aircraft to decrease aviation’s environmental impact. Wide ranging sustainable aviation jet fuels, including quantification of benefits; and

  • Safety and transition strategies that enable “drop in” replacement for petroleum-derived aviation fuels. Drop-in alternative fuels will require no significant modifications to aircraft and engines and with a goal of performing more efficiently, and cleaner than current fossil-based fuels.

Boeing is participating in the CLEEN program through a $25 million matching cost contract for environmental technology development.

American Airlines recognizes our responsibility to minimize our impact on the environment as much as possible, and we look for every opportunity to do so. Our partnership with Boeing allows us to make significant strides in putting more fuel-efficient planes in the air, which is the most effective way to reduce our carbon footprint. We remain committed to identifying and implementing new technologies and programs that further our environmental performance.

—Captain John Hale, American’s vice president – Flight

Together with the American Airlines engineering team, Boeing is finalizing plans for installing the initial technology applications aboard the first airplane. Specific technologies that will be flown in 2012 include:

  • Adaptable trailing edge technology: a technology being developed under the FAA CLEEN Program, it reduces noise and emissions during all phases of flight including take-off, cruise and landing.

  • Variable area fan nozzle: reduces community noise and enables advanced engine efficiency technologies.

  • Flight trajectory optimization for in-flight planning: enables airlines to determine and fly more fuel-efficient routes and provides flight crews the ability to reroute for weather and other constraints.

  • Regenerative fuel cells for onboard power: efficiently stores and generates power, and adapts to aircraft electrical systems demand, potentially reducing weight, fuel burn and CO2 emissions.

American Airlines has a long-standing commitment to reducing its carbon footprint through the ongoing development and implementation of sustainable business practices. In 2010, American’s environmental initiatives yielded the following results:

  • Reduced greenhouse gas intensity ratio related to jet fuel by 5 percent from 2009 to 2010.

  • Celebrated the fifth anniversary of Fuel Smart, American’s fuel-conservation program; generating more than 500 million gallons in total fuel savings since the program began.

  • Saved more than $12 million annually through energy-saving initiatives implemented by our Utilities Management Council.

  • Received and deployed 45 new Boeing 737 aircraft in 2010 that are 35% more fuel-efficient on an available seat-mile basis than the MD-80 aircraft replaced.

  • Signed agreements in partnership with 15 other airlines to purchase future supplies of alternative fuels in 2009, and in 2010 attended several conferences related to the further development of alternative fuels.

  • American ranked 111th in Newsweek magazine’s 2010 Green Ranking, the best performance of any US passenger airline.

  • Formed a multi-departmental group to focus on increasing recycling and reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.



Question: Can the 737 be re-motorized with with more efficient units to further reduce fuel consumption by 15% to match the Airbus 320 Neo and/or the new Bombardier C-Series?


A bit aside, but the first electric series-hybrid airplane is flying - - at a minimum 25% fuel savings and another validation(besides the Audi A1 E-tron) of the constant rpm Wankle as a electric generator for an electric drive motor.

Ratios of 30 kw Wankle, 70 kw electric motor, and buffer(size/type?) battery.


I like the idea of hybrid small planes. If the engine stops you have a motor to take over for a safe landing. This one depends totally on the electric motor, which I do not favor.

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