Prospective life cycle inventory datasets for conventional and hybrid-electric aircraft technologies

Nils Thonemann, Karen Saavedra-Rubio, Eleonore Pierrat, Katarzyna Dudka, Mathilde Bangoura, Nils Baumann, Christian Bentheimer, Priscilla Caliandro, Roeland De Breuker, More Authors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Hybrid-electric aircraft represent a promising solution for the urgent need to decarbonize short-haul flights and bolster aviation sustainability. Nevertheless, the realization of hybrid-electric aircraft demands rigorous environmental impact analysis, given the substantial investments, time, and research required for technology development. This study offers a comprehensive life cycle inventory spanning the years 2030, 2040, and 2050 for both conventional and hybrid-electric aircraft configurations. Our inventory datasets are meticulously constructed through a systematic approach, ensuring data harmonization by drawing upon scientific literature, industry expertise, and primary data sources. This extensive dataset encompasses all pertinent systems necessary to model the environmental footprint of flights covering distances ranging from 200 to 600 nautical miles, utilizing a 50-passenger aircraft with the ATR42 as a reference model. Additionally, we furnish supplemental data for end-of-life considerations and uncertainty analysis. The systems under examination include the airframe, powertrain, power electronics and drives, batteries, fuel cells, hydrogen onboard storage, airport infrastructure, and battery charging stations. Notably, the carbon footprint of conventional aircraft aligns with data from the ecoinvent v3.8 database; however, our provided datasets are more than tenfold more detailed and incorporate a forward-looking perspective. These meticulously curated life cycle inventories can be amalgamated to simulate the potential environmental ramifications of conventional aircraft powered by kerosene or alternative aviation fuels, hybrid-electric aircraft utilizing battery technology, and hybrid-electric aircraft employing hydrogen as a fuel in conjunction with batteries. In this context, our findings play a pivotal role in nurturing the development of technology roadmaps that prioritize environmental sustainability within the realm of regional aviation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number140314
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume434
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Funding

This study was conducted as part of the GENESIS project ( https://www.genesis-cleansky.eu/ ). The GENESIS project has received funding from the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking ( JU ) under grant agreement No 101007968. The JU receives support from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and the Clean Sky 2 JU members other than the Union. This study only reflects the authors' views; the JU is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

Keywords

  • Aviation
  • Data collection
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Industrial ecology
  • LCA
  • Prospective life cycle assessment
  • Transport

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