Research initiative as a trailblazer for sustainable aviation

There can be no “business as usual”, also and especially not in aviation: in the future it should have almost no negative effects on the environment. This goal of “Zero Emission Aviation” (ZEMA) is pursued by research institutions from 13 different countries that have joined forces in the ZEMA Group. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is also one of the signatories of the joint declaration on sustainable aviation.

A pure growth strategy as in the past is not the solution for tomorrow’s air traffic. The ZEMA Group also considers the concentration on the further development of existing aircraft or engines to be insufficient. Instead, new technologies should be developed and implemented. In this context, sustainable fuels, for example, can play an important role: Because combustion processes are always associated with emissions, the research institutions undertake to use alternative energy sources for a new drive technology. In addition, they want to work on optimal routing: For this, appropriate data must be made available – in addition to the aircraft that can fly these routes in a climate-friendly way. Another focus is on urban mobility and electric flying. In their declaration, the research institutions have also committed themselves to always shaping the changes in accordance with social needs.

In the case of developments in electric flying, hydrogen propulsion or completely new configurations, flying demonstrators – i.e. real prototypes – could play a decisive role, for example.

Time is of the essence: at the World Climate Conference in Paris in 2015, it was decided that no more greenhouse gases should be released into the atmosphere in the second half of the century. The European Commission’s “Green Deal” includes the goal for Europe to be climate neutral by 2050. The European Commission also emphasizes that substantial investments will be necessary to achieve this.

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