With aviation projected to grow significantly over the next decade to meet increasing demand, notwithstanding the ongoing pandemic and the disruption this has caused, the industry is constantly seeking new ways of becoming more sustainable.
The quest towards sustainability if often a mix between a genuine desire for manufacturers to differentiate their products from their competitors, and a similarly genuine desire to be more responsible to their customers, employees and the environment. Healthy competition between manufacturers to reduce carbon, eliminate waste, limit energy consumption and better husband the use of precious natural resources is to the benefit of all.
Better fuel efficiency by design
Much of the conversation around sustainability has tended, for obvious reasons, to be centred on emissions and the focus, by nature, has been on engines. The Pratt & Whitney PW1000G chosen for the Embraer E2 Profit Hunter is a case in point, an engine that claims to be 16% more efficient than comparable engines currently in use on regional airplanes and crossover narrow body jets.
But focusing solely on engine performance, however, is only a small part of a much bigger sustainability conversation where airplane design plays a critical role.
Weight, for example, impacts fuel burn; put another way, lighter airplanes burn less fuel. The new E2 flight control is fully fly by wire which is an evolution from the previous model and allows the removal of cables, pulleys and complex systems responsible to the airplane control surfaces, reducing the E2’s all-up weight, but it is not just it.
The flight envelope protections and control optimizations that fly-by-wire delivers expose the aircraft to lower levels of aerodynamic loads, allowing EMBRAER to develop solutions for lighter structures. This one-in-class use of the fly-by-wire, combined with the E2’s new high aspect ratio wing design with single slotted flaps which, results in a double-digit reduction in fuel consumption, emissions, and maintenance costs.
In modelling the performance of an older generation regional jet with the new E2, airlines could reduce their carbon emissions per aircraft by something in the order of 56,000 tons per year, the equivalent of 93,000 people ditching their motor vehicles in preference to a bicycle and cycling to work every day. When compared directly against the Airbus A220, an E2 would save operators an estimated 15,000 tons of CO2 each year, equal to planting a space the size of 135 soccer fields.
There are other interesting facts and figures to support the E2 sustainability story. For airlines to be truly sustainable, they need to fill seats without emitting more pollutants than are necessary and have a lower footprint per trip. Again, this is where the E2 is able to demonstrate its sustainable credentials.
By replacing larger and less efficient airplanes with the smaller yet rightsized E2, airlines can reduce carbon emissions by as much as 30%. That translates into 3,700kg less CO2 per flight which in turn would amount to one million tons less CO2 over ten years for a typical fleet of ten airplanes. A rightsized E2 is capable of delivering 25.4% better fuel efficiency per seat and up to 10% better fuel burn than its competitors.
Supporting sustainability champions
Several sustainability champions within the crossover narrowbody jet space have already bought into Embraer’s sustainability message. Helvetic Airways, for example, has recently taken delivery of the first of four E195-E2s. It flies to a variety of destinations under its own brand or on behalf of Swiss International Airlines. In either case, it has chosen to operate an all-E2 fleet for the operational flexibility it provides, and because with the E195-2 it has chosen an airplane recognised as the most environmentally friendly in its class. They also happen to be the quietest – at least 60% quieter than the previous generation airplanes – meeting strict ICAO Chapter 14 regulations and fast becoming the first choice for airlines flying in and out of noise sensitive airports.
KLM, the Dutch carrier, and the largest operator of E-Jets in Europe with more than 50 E-Jet airplanes, has turned to Embraer to support it in its mission to reduce its carbon footprint by at least 50% per pax/km within the next ten years. An established user of the Embraer E190, by upgrading to the E195-E2 it is reducing its CO2 emissions per seat by 31% compared to the older model, helping the airline to maintain its position at the top of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
Other airlines like Porter from Canada are fast to recognise the benefit of the E-Jet class, having recently announced a deal with Embraer that will see this environmentally focused carrier take delivery of up to 80 E195-E2s over the next two years.
These sustainability champions, and other like them, prove that sustainability has long-since moved on from being a ‘nice to have’ to something that is essential for future business. Bigger than that. It is essential to the future of our industry and of our planet
For further information on the sustainability of Embraer’s E-Jets range, visit e2sustainability.com.