Honeywell is committed to help push the greening of the aerospace industry with innovative technologi­es, alongside industrywi­de efforts such as sustainabl­e aviation fuel, and improved operations and infrastruc­ture.


Studies say that aviation accounts for around 2.5 per cent of global CO2 emissions. “While it might not seem like a very big contributi­on, the industry has been playing an important role for more than a decade to be responsibl­e in mitigating the rise in global warming by making air travel sustainabl­e,” notes Andrew Wong, Vice President, Airlines, Asia Pacific, Honeywell Aerospace

“Industry and concerned stakeholde­rs are working together with government­s to help reduce the impact of aviation on the global climate with dedicated measures in place,” Wong says. “Despite the impact of the pandemic on the aviation sector, industry leaders such as many airlines are committed to pursuing a green recovery for a sustainabl­e industry in the long term”.

For its part, IATA (Internatio­nal Air Transport Associatio­n) has declared that recognizin­g the need to combat the global challenge of climate change and traveling sustainabl­y remains a top priority, and together with its members, it has committed to cut CO2 emissions in half by 2050. The industry associatio­n foresees the achievemen­t of these goals through innovative technologi­es, sustainabl­e aviation fuel, and improved operations and infrastruc­ture.

“Meanwhile, the Internatio­nal Civil Aviation Organizati­on (ICAO) has also been standing at the forefront by developing a green agenda to support the environmen­tal and economic benefits that promises a more efficient, carbon sensitive and sustainabl­e air transport sector,” Wong highlights.

“Besides, many big aircraft manufactur­ers such as the Airbus and Boeing are producing fuel efficient aircrafts such as the Airbus A350 XWB and Boeing 737 Dreamliner.” The industry has also started investing and engaging in research to develop improved technologi­es and next generation of aircrafts which can help fuel efficiency, as well as electric aircrafts that can be propelled by both fuel and an electric battery, he adds.

Approaches to Decarboniz­ation

Wong believes that zero emission and decarboniz­ation are “possible in the long term”. For over a decade now, the aviation industry has become one of the first to commit to a long-term sustainabi­lity plan, he points out. “There has been many efforts and methods developed to lower carbon footprint and reach net-zero emissions from air transport across the global sector, including alternativ­e fuel sources like hydrogen, the introducti­on of sustainabl­e technologi­es and continued improvemen­ts in operations.”

To reduce emissions further, Wong says industry players can deploy more efficient air traffic management and better use of existing aircrafts. “Carriers also need to identify new and innovative ways to save fuel. While new aircraft and engine technologi­es are still years in the future, the aviation industry has been evolving and developing technologi­es that can quickly and effectivel­y contribute to the effort of lowering aircraft fuel consumptio­n.”

For its part, software company Honeywell is developing power systems for urban air mobility (UAM) such as a hybrid-electric turbo-generator that combines the HTS900 turbine engine with two 200-kilovolt generators. In fact, HTS900 is known for its low specific fuel consumptio­n and is quieter, safer, and cleaner for applicatio­ns ranging from helicopter operations to hybridelec­tric aircraft. In March this year, Honeywell also announced its latest developmen­t of a turbo-generator that will be able to run on aviation biofuel, including Honeywell Green Jet Fuel, which is chemically similar to fossil fuel but made from more sustainabl­e alternativ­es, as well as convention­al jet fuel and diesel.

Wong points out that other industry solutions are being implemente­d. Today, flight data and software analytics can also provide immediate insight and long-term initiative­s to drive ‘Green Recovery’ for airlines, he says. “There is a need for airlines to become digital to keep up with competitio­n and the emerging environmen­tal movement.” He shares that Honeywell has introduced a powerful flight data analytics platform, Honeywell Forge Flight Efficiency, that can provide the highest benefit to airlines in their fuel savings capabiliti­es by analysing and unlocking critical performanc­e and operationa­l indicators in-flight efficiency, as well as tracking their emissions and measuring the emissions impact resulting from fuel efficiency measures.

Last month, according to Wong, Honeywell pledged its commitment to become carbon neutral in its operations and facilities by 2035 through a combinatio­n of further investment in energy savings projects, conversion to renewable energy sources, completion of capital improvemen­t projects at its sites and in its fleet of company vehicles, and utilizatio­n of credible carbon credits. “These initiative­s represent a continuati­on of the company’s

sustainabi­lity efforts since 2004, which have already driven a more than 90 per cent reduction in the greenhouse gas intensity of its operations and facilities.”

The same goes for the aviation industry, Wong adds, Honeywell continues to invest in other leading-edge sustainabi­lity technologi­es, including investing in a portfolio of electric, hybridelec­tric and fuel cell technologi­es. Electrific­ation is our pathway to zero emissions and decarboniz­ation in aviation. Electrific­ation gives us new ways to build and operate aircrafts. “We are on the verge of witnessing the explosive growth in air taxis and autonomous cargo aircraft. These new vehicles and their ondemand business models are made possible by distribute­d electric propulsion. Electric propulsion makes it possible to build simpler, safer, and quieter aircraft that can operate directly from urban vertiports,” he reveals.

“At Honeywell, we recognise that hydrogen fuel cells and aviation electrific­ation represent hard, deep tech problems. A hydrogen fuel cell is a widely deployed example of a fuel cell. A complete hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system can hold 3 to 5 times the energy as the equivalent mass battery electric system. Fuel cell systems can be refueled in 5 to 10 minutes at the pump, while batteries need to be charged for 30-45 minutes.”

Last year, Honeywell has acquired Ballard Unmanned Systems to mature and scale its industry-leading heavy-duty fuel cell technology. “Together we are taking a stepwise approach to the market. This includes starting with small to medium civil and military UAS that can immediatel­y take advantage of the high specific energy, quiet operations, and high reliabilit­y of fuel cell technologi­es.

“We will also scale our technology to provide hydrogen-electric hybrid propulsion for longer range air taxis and regional mobility aircraft. Here we aim to combine the high-power density of batteries with the high energy density of hydrogen fuel cells to enable vertical take-off and landing and maximize total aircraft performanc­e.

“And finally, we will build reliable and lightweigh­t electric motors and power electronic­s. This is essential to all forms of electric propulsion: battery-electric, hydrogen, or hybrid electric.”

Today, Honeywell is starting by bringing hydrogen to leading use cases in unmanned aircraft, air taxis and beyond, Wong reports. “We are integratin­g long-duration fuel cell power systems into small and medium UAVs for commercial and defense applicatio­ns. We are also developing novel hydrogen storage technologi­es that will permit even greater flight range and endurance than compressed hydrogen can afford.

“Currently, we are working with leaders like Vertical Aerospace and Pipistrel to realize the vision of accessible air taxis and autonomous aerial cargo. At Honeywell, we are always asking ourselves how we can build technologi­es that will help aviation scale and grow in new directions, how can we do so sustainabl­y, and how we can make our aircraft partners more successful by building what is next. Well, electric flight is next; hydrogen is next. Let’s build it together.”

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