An aviation renaissance, one focused on energy efficiency and economic impact, is on the horizon, and it’s changing how engineers look at aircraft power and design. Although the aircraft industry continues to adopt innovative technologies, which are making current aircraft more energy efficient, there’s new interest in exploring alternative propulsion systems and energy sources.
source/image: NASA GVIS
This new interest presents an opportunity to develop cutting-edge technologies that will dramatically reduce fuel usage, while opening up potential new markets and business opportunities for American companies and carriers.
“I feel we are at a tipping point in commercial aviation,” says Jim Heidmann, manager of NASA’s Advanced Air Transport Technology Project (AATT). “We are exploring and developing game-changing technologies and concepts for aircraft and propulsion systems that can dramatically improve efficiency and reduce environmental impact and accelerate the introduction of new aircraft.”
To provide better efficiency with less noise and fewer emissions, NASA is working with the aviation industry and academia to develop unique vehicle concepts that will use different fuselage shapes; longer, skinnier and more blended wings; innovative materials and components; and highly-integrated propulsion (engine) systems.