FAA grants $100 million to develop new sustainable aircraft technology
September 15, 2021
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  • The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded more than $100 million to companies, to help develop technologies that reduce fuel use, emissions, and noise. The award is part of a series of steps President Biden is taking to coordinate leadership and innovation across the federal government, aircraft manufacturers, airlines, fuel producers and more to position American aviation to soar towards net-zero emissions by 2050. This FAA announcement is part of those efforts.

    Pete Buttigieg, Transportation Secretary said: “Across the country, communities have been devastated by the effects of climate change – but, if we act now, we can ensure that aviation plays a central role in the solution. These awards will help America lead the world in sustainable aviation.”

    The Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) programme is a public-private partnership that began in 2010 and is a key part the FAA’s overall strategy to tackle the global challenge of climate change and lower the impact aviation has on communities. The programme requires the companies receiving the contracts to match or exceed the FAA’s investment, bringing the total to at least $200 million over a five-year period. The awards are the third phase of the FAA’s CLEEN programme.

    FAA Investment

    Under CLEEN Phase Three, the FAA and six industry partners will focus on reducing aviation emissions and noise, including pursuing goals of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by improving fuel efficiency by at least 20 per cent below the relevant International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standard, as well as NOx emissions by 70 per cent, relative to the most recent ICAO standard, particulate matter emissions below the ICAO standard and noise by 25 dB cumulative relative to the FAA Stage Five standard.

    The FAA also is pursuing agreements with Rolls-Royce Corporation and Safran Nacelles.

    “Like our quest for safer skies, making flying sustainable requires us to constantly look for ways to improve,” further commented Steve Dickson, FAA Administrator.

    The CLEEN technologies developed so far are estimated to reduce CO2 emissions equivalent to removing three million cars from the road by 2050 and to save the aviation industry 36 billion gallons of fuel. The fuel savings is the equivalent of 11.4 million Boeing, 737 flights between New York and Los Angeles.

    Continuing Success  

    Examples of the accomplishments from the FAA’s $225 million invested in the CLEEN Phase One and Phase Two include:

    The FAA anticipates that technologies developed under CLEEN Phase Three could be introduced into commercial aircraft by 2031.