Up-to-date information on the rebound in flying in the United States

by Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research. Among the variables included in my ongoing monthly monitoring of key transportation indexes is revenue passenger miles for domestic flying. That monitoring has shown a huge pandemic-related drop in flying during the spring of 2020 and a gradual rebound later in 2020 and in... Read more →


Deutsche Aircraft, the new purpose-driven German aircraft Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) (earlier post), and Universal Hydrogen Co. (earlier post) announced a technical collaboration to complete a design study to incorporate Universal Hydrogen’s modular capsule technology into the Dornier 328 program. The joint effort will analyze the size and integration of... Read more →


Surf Air Mobility Inc., has signed a purchase agreement with Textron Aviation for up to 150 Cessna Grand Caravan EX single-engine turboprop aircraft, with an initial fleet order of 100 aircraft and an option for 50 more. The Cessna Grand Caravan EX is designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation Inc.,... Read more →


Thirteen companies and one university have signed agreements with NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) project’s National Campaign to continue work towards integrating air taxis, cargo delivery aircraft and other new air vehicle concepts into the national airspace system. Joby Aviation’s all-electric prototype. The partners will participate in the first full... Read more →


Universal Hydrogen (earlier post) has signed LOIs with Icelandair Group (Iceland), Air Nostrum (Spain), and Ravn Air (Alaska) for aftermarket conversion of aircraft to hydrogen propulsion and for the supply of green hydrogen fuel using Universal Hydrogen’s modular capsules. Rendering of regional airplane with conversion kit and fuel capsules. Icelandair.... Read more →


CAE, a global leader in aviation training, and urban air mobility (UAM) company Volocopter signed a strategic partnership, subject to definitive agreement, to develop, certify, and deploy an innovative pilot training program for electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) operations. This eVTOL pilot training program will develop the pilot workforce... Read more →


Rolls-Royce’s all-electric aircraft the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ (earlier post) will take to the skies for the first time in the coming weeks as it works towards a world-record attempt with a target speed of 300+ mph (480+ km/h). The current speed record for an all-electric plane—set by Siemens in 2017—is... Read more →


H2FLY, a German start-up developing hydrogen fuel cell systems for aircraft, and Deutsche Aircraft, a new German aircraft manufacturer developing energy-efficient, cost-effective, environmentally-friendly aircraft, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together on the research and development of Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology for commercial regional aircraft. Martin Nüßeler, CTO... Read more →


In Hamburg, a new development platform is being launched to test hydrogen technology in aviation from as early as 2022. Funded by the Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Lufthansa Technik will work with the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Center for Applied Aeronautical Research (ZAL) and Hamburg Airport over the next... Read more →


Researchers at the University of Bath have developed a graphene oxide (GO)/polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) aerogel (GPA) weighing just 2.1 kg m-3—making it the lightest sound insulation ever manufactured. Over the 400–2500 Hz range, the reported average sound absorption coefficients are as high as 0.79, while the average sound transmission losses... Read more →


Stakeholders say EU should set ambitious targets for SAF while preserving a level playing field for airlines

The European Commission should set ambitious targets for e-kerosene, a green synthetic fuel, when it proposes the world’s first sustainable jet fuel law this month, environmental NGO Transport & Environment (T&E), Lufthansa, the Global Alliance Powerfuels, pilots’ representatives, and other aviation industry and energy players have said. The group, which... Read more →


ZeroAvia has secured two twin-engine 19-seat Dornier 228 aircraft for the next phase of its research and development for clean hydrogen-electric aviation. (Earlier post.) One Dornier is in the UK, the other in the US, provided respectively by Aurigny and AMC Aviation. Both aircraft were previously in service for regional... Read more →


Shell and Rolls-Royce signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which aims to support the decarbonization of the aviation industry and their progress towards net zero emissions. In recognition of the scale of the challenge, the MoU will expand and accelerate several existing areas of cooperation between the companies such as... Read more →


The EU-funded research project HyFlexFuel recently successfully produced biocrudes via hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) from a variety of biomasses, including sewage sludge, food waste, manure, wheat straw, corn stover, pine sawdust, miscanthus and microalgae in a pilot-scale continuous HTL plant at Aarhus University (Denmark). HyFlexFuel, Process overview. Copyright: Bauhaus Luftfahrt Biocrudes... Read more →


Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group & ANRA Technologies partner to develop advanced air mobility air traffic operating environment

The Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group is partnering with ANRA Technologies—a leading international provider of end-to-end drone operations and traffic management solutions for unmanned system operators and airspace managers—to begin developing the operating environment for the advanced air mobility (AAM) industry. This is the first in a... Read more →


Japan Airlines conducts first flight with blend of two different types of SAF

Japan Airlines (JAL) has conducted the first flight with a mixture of two different types of SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) produced domestically in Japan. As a first step forward the commercialization of domestically-produced SAF around 2030, SAF produced at the demonstration plants has now passed the quality inspection and became... Read more →


Rolls-Royce is entering new aviation markets to pioneer sustainable power and as part of that mission will be developing energy storage systems (ESS) that will enable aircraft to undertake zero emissions flights of more than 100 miles on a single charge. Rolls-Royce is planning an £80-million (US$110 million) investment in... Read more →


General Motors and Liebherr-Aerospace will join forces to develop a hydrogen fuel cell power generation demonstrator system for aircraft. The two companies will explore possiblities to develop an integrated system, customized to the performance and economic requirements of commercial aircraft. The construction and testing of this demonstrator—based, in part, on... Read more →


Aemetis selects Worley to provide engineering for renewable jet and diesel production plant; Axens technology

Aemetis, Inc. has awarded an engineering services contract to Worley for the Aemetis “Carbon Zero” renewable jet and diesel plant in Riverbank, California. The Aemetis Carbon Zero renewable jet and diesel project is designed to hydrotreat renewable oils with hydrogen from orchard and forest wood waste. By utilizing hydroelectric electricity... Read more →


Airbus establishes zero-emission development centers in Germany & France for metallic LH2 tanks

Airbus has established Zero-Emission Development Centers (ZEDCs) at its sites in Bremen (Germany) and in Nantes (France). The goal of the ZEDCs is to achieve cost-competitive cryogenic tank manufacturing to support the successful future market launch of ZEROe (earlier post) and to accelerate the development of hydrogen-propulsion technologies. In September... Read more →


GE Aviation and Safran launched a technology development program targeting more than 20% lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared to today’s engines. The CFM RISE (Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engines) program will demonstrate and mature a range of new, disruptive technologies for future engines that could enter service by... Read more →


Up-to-date information on the rebound in flying in the United States

by Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research. Among the variables included in my ongoing monthly monitoring of key transportation indexes is revenue passenger miles for domestic flying. That monitoring has shown a huge pandemic-related drop in flying during the spring of 2020 and a gradual rebound later in 2020 and in... Read more →


eVTOL company Vertical Aerospace logs up to 1,000 pre-orders valued at up to $4B

Vertical Aerospace, developer of the VA-X4 eVTOL aircraft (earlier post), announced investments from American Airlines, Avolon, Honeywell and Rolls-Royce, who have invested in the PIPE and are part of Vertical’s strategic partner ecosystem; Microsoft’s M12, 40 North and Rocket Internet SE have also invested in the business. Commercial partnerships and... Read more →


The unique operating profiles and requirements of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft—also known as flying cars—present formidable challenges to batteries. In a paper in the journal Joule, a team from Penn State University has analyzed the primary performance metrics required for eVTOL batteries compared with electric vehicle (EV)... Read more →


The well-established, cost-competitive ethanol market provides an opportunity to shift the composition of jet fuel and other fuel products away from petroleum. In the first step of a multi-step ethanol-to-jet-fuel process earlier developed by DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL’s), a catalyst is used to convert ethanol into butene-rich C3+... Read more →


Curtiss-Wright delivers flight test hardware for Eviation’s Alice all-electric aircraft

Curtiss-Wright Corporation has delivered the primary flight control actuators and control electronics to Eviation Aircraft for the all-electric Alice aircraft, as it prepares for first flight. Curtiss-Wright’s high-power density electromechanical actuators (EMA) provide Eviation with a modular, distributed solution that enables a flexible control architecture. Alice is a small aircraft... Read more →


United Airlines announced a commercial agreement with Denver-based aerospace company Boom Supersonic to purchase 15 of Boom’s Overture supersonic airliners, once Overture meets United’s safety, operating and sustainability requirements, with an option for an additional 35 aircraft. The companies will work together on meeting those requirements before delivery. Once operational,... Read more →


CO2 emissions from private jets in Europe increased by nearly a third (31%) between 2005 and 2019, rising faster than commercial aviation emissions, according to a new report from environmental campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E). The report, Private jets: can the super-rich supercharge zero emission aviation?, finds that private... Read more →


Lawmakers introduce bill to provide blender’s tax credit for Sustainable Aviation Fuel

US Congressman Brad Schneider (IL-10) introduced the Sustainable Skies Act, new legislation to promote the transition to sustainable aviation fuel. Currently, air travel accounts for as much as 2.5% of global carbon emissions. The Sustainable Skies Act aims to cut aviation’s carbon emissions in half. The bill, co-led by Reps.... Read more →


Rolls-Royce launches new SAF service for business aviation customers

Rolls-Royce is further strengthening its commitment to Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) by launching a new service—SAFinity, which will initially cater for business aviation customers. This flexible programme combines independently verified sustainability projects with a direct investment in Sustainable Aviation Fuel, aiming to further support and accelerate the availability and use... Read more →


Washington State University researchers have developed an innovative way to convert waste polyethylene plastic to ingredients for jet fuel and other valuable products, making it easier and more cost-effective to reuse plastics. The researchers in their reaction were able to convert 90% of plastic to jet fuel and other valuable... Read more →


Researchers from the University of Central Florida and the US Naval Research Laboratory have discovered an experimental configuration and flow conditions that generate a stabilized oblique detonation—a phenomenon that has the potential to revolutionize high-speed propulsion of the future. An open-access paper on their work is published in Proceedings of... Read more →


DARPA recently awarded contracts for the first phase of the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) program. The goal of the DRACO program is to demonstrate a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) system above low Earth orbit in 2025. The three prime contractors are General Atomics, Blue Origin, and Lockheed... Read more →


The Danish airline Alsie Express has launched a collaboration with Sønderborg Airport and Danfoss, among others, to introduce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) into its operations. Flights between Sønderborg and Copenhagen (about 122 miles / 196 km / 106 nautical miles) have begun using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Alsie Express is... Read more →


Wright demonstrates megawatt-class high-performance inverter for electric aircraft

Wright Electric, a company developing an electric single aisle commerical aircraft comparable to the Boeing 737 or Airbus 320 (earlier post), has begun testing and has demonstrated a megawatt-class high-performance inverter. Whether a future airplane is battery-electric or powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, an inverter is a key component... Read more →


Rolls-Royce has officially unveiled the Pearl 10X, the third and most powerful member of its market-leading Pearl engine family for the business aviation market. The engine has been optimized to power exclusively Dassault’s new flagship aircraft, the Falcon 10X, which was revealed during a digital ceremony at Le Bourget airport... Read more →


The lower the frictional resistance of an aircraft in the air, the lower its fuel consumption. Using nature as a role model, the aviation industry has been intensively researching ways to reduce aerodynamic drag for many years. Now Lufthansa Technik and BASF have made a breakthrough as part of a... Read more →


Neste, the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel produced from waste and residue raw materials, will modify its existing renewables production capacity in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to enable production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). Currently the refinery produces mainly Neste MY Renewable Diesel. The modifications to... Read more →


Fuel tankering in commercial aviation is the practice of overfueling with less expensive fuel purchased at one airport to avoid purchasing more expensive fuel at another—in other words, flying with extra fuel on board to save money. Calculating the benefit of tankering is highly flight-specific; extra fuel increases the takeoff... Read more →


Aemetis, Inc. has selected Axens Vegan Renewable Hydroprocessing technology for its “Carbon Zero 1” production plant in Riverbank, California. Axens Vegan technology is designed to hydrotreat a wide range of lipids and to produce a flexible slate of low-density and high cetane renewable diesel as well as renewable jet fuel.... Read more →


A recent update by The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) now includes carinata as a renewable fuel feedstock for hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) with a similar greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint as waste and residuals, such as used cooking oil, for the same fuel type.... Read more →


Bye Aerospace announced an eight-seat all-electric twin turbo-prop class airplane, the eFlyer 800. Performance estimates for the eFlyer 800 include up to 320 knot cruise speed, 35,000 feet ceiling and 500 nm range with 45-minute IFR reserves at normal cruise speed of 280 knots. Safety features include two wing-mounted electric... Read more →


Universal Hydrogen announced $20.5-million Series A financing round led by prominent Silicon Valley venture fund, Playground Global, with the investor syndicate comprising Fortescue Future Industries, Coatue, Global Founders Capital, Plug Power, Airbus Ventures, JetBlue Technology Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, Sojitz Corporation, and Future Shape. Founded in 2020 by aviation industry... Read more →


Neste and NuStar Energy L.P. announced that supply trucks are now able to load Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel at the NuStar-operated Selby Terminal near San Francisco, California. The first gallons have been safely picked up and delivered to the nearby Monterey Regional Airport. Due to the strategic location of... Read more →


Total has begun producing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at its La Mède biorefinery in southern France and its Oudalle facility near Le Havre. The biojet fuel, made from used cooking oil, will be delivered to French airports starting in April 2021. Total will also be able to produce SAF as... Read more →


In 2020, the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO) launched the Million Mile Fuel Cell Truck Consortium (M2FCT) to leverage the potential opportunity fuel cells in the heavy-duty vehicle (HDV) market and to align with the H2@Scale vision for clean and affordable hydrogen across multiple... Read more →


Through its UPS Flight Forward subsidiary, UPS plans to purchase electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft from Beta Technologies (BETA) as part of its innovation-driven strategy to identify new ways to help small businesses with sustainable solutions. BETA’s ALIA-250 is the result of 3 years of design and development.... Read more →


DOE BETO to award $61.4M for low-carbon biofuels research to reduce transportation emissions

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the availability of $61.4 million for technologies that produce low-cost, low-carbon biofuels. (DE-FOA-0002396) Topic areas for the “Bioenergy Technologies Office Scale-Up and Conversion” funding opportunity include high-impact biotechnology research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) to bolster the body of scientific... Read more →


LanzaJet, Inc., a leading sustainable fuels technology company and sustainable fuels producer, announced that Shell has joined as an investor in the company to advance LanzaJet’s global growth, accelerate commercialization of its technology, and scale the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). LanzaJet’s technology opens up a new and exciting... Read more →


ZeroAvia is launching the development program for a 2MW hydrogen-electric powertrain for full-size regional aircraft. The program kick-off is supported by a new raise of $24.3 million, led by Horizons Ventures, joined by a new investor: British Airways. Existing investors Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Summa Equity, Shell Ventures,... Read more →