The zero emissions plane

The aviation industry faces an increasingly demanding challenge. It is related to the level of pollution they produce in the air. To counteract this, they are establishing carbon emissions control goals for the coming years. There is a new character in this story: The zero-emission plane, still in the pipeline.

NASA has released a new rendering of Boeing’s X-66. It is the first X-plane focused specifically on helping the United States achieve net-zero aviation emissions by 2050.

The zero-emission plane is an important NASA project.
The zero-emission plane is an important NASA project.

New generation

For now, NASA and Boeing are entering the first stages of production of the zero-emission plane. But the team already imagines what it will look like above the clouds. The image highlights the future aircraft’s characteristic thin, extra-long wings stabilized by diagonal struts. It is known as the Transonic Truss-Braced Wing concept.

Its system is combined with other advances in propulsion systems, materials and systems architecture. The setup could result in up to 30% less fuel consumption. These are reduced emissions compared to today’s best-in-class aircraft, NASA reports.

Under the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project, Boeing is working with NASA to build, test and fly this full-scale demonstrator aircraft. The project seeks to inform a new generation of more sustainable single-aisle cabin aircraft. It is the workhorse of passenger airlines around the world.

This project will be ready in a few years.
This project will be ready in a few years.

At the end of the decade

Boeing transported the MD-90 aircraft that will become the X-66 to its Palmdale, California, facility last year. It removed its engines when modifications began.

NASA plans to complete testing of the project by the end of the 2020s. The technologies and designs demonstrated by the project can inform industry decisions about the next generation of single-aisle aircraft. These could enter service in the 2030s.

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