The current Clean Sky initiative funded by Framework Programme 7, is the largest European aeronautics research programme ever, with a €1.6 billion budget over seven years.
Clean Sky 2 will dwarf that figure, with total funding of €4.05 billion, of which the Commission is putting in €1.8 billion, whilst €2.25 billion in cash and in kind resources will come from the industrial partners. However, €1 billion of this will be in the form of “additional activities” that are not included in the work plan of the JTI but that contribute to its objectives.
Jean Paul Herteman, chairman and CEO of Safran, the French aircraft engine manufacturer said, “Today is an important day for Europe because it is a big day for the aerospace industry” – an industry that is “one of Europe’s jewels”.
Clean Sky 2 will bring together companies, universities, public laboratories and SMEs to develop and demonstrate new technologies for the civil aircraft market that cut emissions and noise. Air traffic currently contributes about 3 per cent to global greenhouse gas emissions, a figure that is expected to triple by 2050. Although other sectors are more polluting – electricity generation and heating produce 32 per cent of greenhouse gases - pollution from air traffic is released high in the atmosphere where the impact is much greater.
In addition to improved environmental credentials, it is hoped the Clean Sky 2 JTI will secure the future international competitiveness of the European aviation industry. Europe currently has a 40 per cent share of the world market.
Amongst specific objectives, Clean Sky 2 aims to increase aircraft fuel efficiency, cutting CO2 emissions by 20-30 per cent, and reducing nitrogen oxide and noise emissions by 20-30 per cent compared to state-of-the-art aircraft entering into service as from 2014.
Other countries, and in particular the US, strongly support their aeronautics industry, meaning private investment alone is not enough to maintain the competitiveness of the sector in Europe. This highlights the importance of the synergy between private and government investment on show in Clean Sky 2.
Eric Dautriat, Executive Director of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking which is responsible for managing the JTI said, “Based on the successful Clean Sky experience to date, Clean Sky 2 is well positioned to become a force in shaping innovation for aviation in the decades to come. The entire aeronautics supply chain will benefit: SMEs, research organisations, universities and industry.”
Clean Sky achievements to date
Those involved in Clean Sky claim that technology developments to date or in progress could reduce aviation CO2 emissions by more than 20 per cent compared to 2000 baseline levels. This is equivalent to a reduction of 2 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 over the next 35 years.
Technologies and demonstrators developed in the Clean Sky programme represent major steps forward, with examples to date including innovative rotor blades and a high compression engine for light helicopters, new ice detector sensors and advanced avionics systems.