Building more sustainable aircraft
The European aviation industry has set ambitious goals for itself: by the year 2020, CO2 emissions shall be reduced by 50 percent, NOx emissions by 80 percent and noise by 50 percent. Within the JTI Clean Sky and its eco-design ITD managed in cooperation with Dassault, the researchers of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft also contribute to achieve these goals. The main issue at stake is "ecolonomy" or ecological economics - in other words, the question of how to steadily make aircraft more eco-friendly without incurring excessive costs. In addition to reducing emissions and noise, other key strategies include improving energy efficiency and promoting a sustainable life cycle. Numerous studies predict a sharp increase in both freight and passenger traffic. In order to reduce the impact on the environment despite the rising volume of traffic, it will be necessary to conduct research into new, eco-friendly design concepts and to optimize existing processes. For this reason, the ENDAMI project was launched; ENDAMI stands for Life Cycle Environmental Data Models and Interface development in Aviation. It is a software tool which supports the Clean Sky goals by quantifying environmental impacts of aviation specific products and processes. The method used for this quantification is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The analysis comprises all of the environmental impacts that a product causes throughout the course of its entire life cycle - from production to use to recycling or disposal. Therefore high-performance software is needed. Current programs are very complex and need external experts with specific LCA expertise to be operated. A further drawback of current software tools is that for the most part, such software only records the relevant data after the fact. The aviation industry plans for the long term: often, aircraft models are kept in service for 20 years or more. If the industry fails to carry out Life Cycle Assessment at an early stage and to implement such feedback in the design process, it will have to offset the impacts later on with great effort and expense.