LONDON – Embraer has released four new design concept aircraft as part of the company’s progress report on Energia, Embraer’s initiative to get the aviation industry to net zero by 2050.
One year after Embraer presented its Embraer’s Sustainability in Action event, which detailed the study of four new aircraft concepts powered by new technologies and renewable energies, the company has been focusing on two 19 to 30-seater designs for hybrid electric and hydrogen-powered engines.
Guided by the company’s 50-year technical expertise, external inputs from airlines, and joint studies with engine OEMs, the two approaches of flying with both hydrogen and electric engines, to net-zero offer a technically realistic and economically feasible pathway to net-zero.
Here is an overview of the basic specifications of the new designs:
Energia Hybrid (E19-HE and E30-HE) – revealed as a nine-seater in 2021, Embraer is exploring a 19 and a 30-seater variant:
- parallel hybrid-electric propulsion
- up to 90% CO2 emissions reduction when using SAF
- 19 and 30-seat variants
- rear-mounted engines
- technology readiness – early 2030’s
Energia H2 Fuel Cell (E19-H2FC and E30-H2FC) – revealed as a 19-seater in 2021, Embraer is also exploring a 30-seater variant:
- hydrogen-electric propulsion
- zero CO2 emissions
- 19 and 30-seat variants
- rear-mounted electric engines
- technology readiness – 2035
While still in the evaluation phase, the architectures and technologies are being assessed for technical and commercial viability. The Energia Advisory Group has also been launched to harness inputs and collaboration from partner airlines.
Embraer management statements
Arjan Meijer, President, and CEO, of Embraer Commercial Aviation, said, “I believe we have set bold but realistic goals for these concepts to come to market. Since we announced our Energia concepts last year, we have been busy evaluating different architectures and propulsion systems.”
“These efforts have resulted in the updates of our concepts that we are sharing with you today. A number of airlines are part of our Energia Advisory Group, the experience, and knowledge they bring to the study will be key to accelerate to the next phases.”
“As new propulsion technologies will be first applied on smaller aircraft, Embraer is in a unique position. The 19 and 30-seaters are sensible starting points for focused studies since they are likely to present earlier technical and economical readiness,” said Luis Carlos Affonso, Sr. VP of Engineering, Technology and Corporate Strategy, Embraer.
“While the challenges of net-zero are significant, in less than 25 years our commercial aircraft have already reduced fuel burn and CO2 emissions by almost 50% on a seat/mile basis, using only conventional fuels and propulsion – I’m convinced net-zero is a goal we can reach.”
As Embraer stated, this project is still being assessed for its technical and economical viability. While this may sound promising, it still may not be technically feasible at this point, as we’re at our infancy stage with electric flight of a large plane.
There are many start-ups too, like the Delft-based Maeve Aerospace, which claims to make a 40-seater, 8-engine, propeller plane.
While this may sound beautiful, it’s still filled with loose promises, as the aerospace industry is a highly conservative industry, and doesn’t like change.