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Embraer, Rolls Studying Zero-Emission Regional Aircraft

Feb. 17, 2022
A partnership that also includes a Norwegian airline will evaluate different propulsion technologies, including all-electric, hydrogen fuel cell, or hydrogen-fueled gas turbine-powered aircraft.

Embraer and Rolls-Royce have made a 12-month commitment to study a “zero-emission regional aircraft” concept, together with Norwegian regional carrier Widerøe. The partners claim their project, described as “pre-competitive research and development”, will address passenger requirements while seeking to accelerate the knowledge of the technologies necessary for the transition to such aircraft.

“The aim of our collaboration is to create new flight solutions that serve expanded market segments in a sustainable manner,” according to Arjan Meijer, president and CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation.

Their study will evaluate different propulsion technologies for a range of potential solutions, including all-electric, hydrogen fuel cell, or hydrogen-fueled gas turbine-powered aircraft.

“Such technologies will allow national governments to continue to support passenger mobility while reusing most of the existing infrastructure in a more sustainable way,” according to the announcement.

Embraer is the most prominent developer of new regional aircraft, including its EJet E2 series, which had Widerøe as the launch customer. Jet engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce is engaged in several efforts to incorporate sustainable airline fuel into existing aircraft series, and to develop new, carbon-free propulsion technologies.

Widerøe is a Norwegian carrier serving that destinations in that country and others in Northern Europe.

The partners’ announcement stated that renewable energy can be “a major enabler of a new era of regional aviation and the three companies will share their combined in-depth knowledge of aircraft design, market demand, operations, and propulsion solutions to further develop their understanding of zero-emission technologies and how they can be matured and applied to future regional aircraft.”

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