Boeing announced that its ecoDemonstrator program is being joined by ecoDemonstrator Explorers, aircraft focused on testing specific technologies.
The first ecoDemonstrator Explorer will be a Boeing 787-10. The aircraft will conduct flight tests in June 2023, flying between Seattle, Washington, and Tokyo, Singapore, and Bangkok. According to Boeing, the flights will test how “coordinating navigation across global airspace jurisdictions can improve operational efficiency, which can reduce an airplane’s fuel use and emissions by up to 10%”.
During these test flights, the manufacturer and Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP) in the US, Japan, Singapore, and Thailand “will collectively sequence the airplane’s routes to achieve the optimal flight path across multiple regions, factoring in conditions such as weather, air traffic and airspace closures”, Boeing added. The manufacturer also noted that the 787-10 will use the highest permissible blend of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) at each city.
The maximum permissible SAF blend is currently 50%.
The 787-10 will join the flagship ecoDemonstrator, a Boeing-owned 777-200ER, which has been part of the program since 2022.
Continuing its mission to study safety and sustainability technologies, the ecoDemonstrator will test 19 technologies, such as:
- Sustainable walls in the cargo hold made out of 40% recycled carbon fiber and 60% resin made from a bio-based feedstock
- A fiber optic qual quantity sensor compatible with a 100% SAF blend
- An Electronic Flight Bag application with Smart Airport Maps, a component of Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro, which reduces costs and improves taxiway safety
Much like the 787-10, the 777-200ER will use the maximum SAF blend wherever it will fly from/to.
“To support our industry’s goal for net zero carbon emissions by 2050, Boeing is expanding our ecoDemonstrator program with Explorer airplanes to test even more sustainability-focused technologies,” said Stan Deal, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA).
Deal added that utilizing the ecoDemonstrator Explorer with stakeholders from different countries shows “how we can work together to optimize operational efficiency and reduce emissions”.
Boeing began the ecoDemonstrator program in 2012 to test various technologies in a real-world environment. By the end of 2023, the manufacturer plans to have tested around 250 innovations to decarbonize aviation and improve operational efficiency, safety, and the passenger experience.
“Approximately a third of tested technologies have progressed onto Boeing’s products and services,” the planemaker noted.
In 2020, the ecoDemonstrator was an Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10, while in 2021, it was an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX-9.