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Honeywell Takes Flight with Sustainable Aviation Technologies

Honeywell Takes Flight with Sustainable Aviation Technologies

Although we usually think of Earth Day—April 22—as a time to focus on educating and raising awareness of what we can do to safeguard our favorite terra firma, call us flighty but those of us in the aerospace industries like to tend to matters both on the ground…and in the clouds.

Of course the theme this year is “protect our species” but this is not a one-day, one-year or even one-decade aspiration. It’s going to take a concerted effort by all aviation segments to achieve the goals we all want.

Honeywell is at the vanguard of efforts on a variety of fronts, including:

  • reducing fuel consumption,
  • innovating safe, environmentally friendly ways of transporting people (and animals!)
  • reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Airlines always want to reduce fuel consumption—both for economic reasons and because, well, it’s the right thing to do. Our GoDirect Flight Efficiency service uses data-driven decision-making incorporating changing weather conditions, navigation charts and aircraft performance to construct the most fuel-efficient flight profile.

As my fellow blogger, Julie Vasquez, pointed out last year, “Frankly, the low-hanging fruit has been harvested. Carriers need to identify new and innovative ways to save fuel.”

Honeywell’s sophisticated GoDirect Flight Efficiency analytics are doing just that by informing pilots about shortcuts, optimal climb speeds, cruise altitudes and other opportunities to reduce fuel consumption.

Our technology innovators are continually looking for ways to quickly and efficiently move people within cities in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. In the emerging aviation world of drones, personal flying vehicles and on-demand air travel—known as urban air mobility (UAM) — this is now beginning to take shape. Honeywell is developing power systems for these new aircraft, including a hybrid-electric turbogenerator that combines the HTS900 turbine engine with two 200-kilovolt generators.

In fact, the HTS900, known for its low specific fuel consumption (the rate at which the engine burns fuel each hour) is quieter, safer, and cleaner for applications ranging from helicopter operations to hybrid electric aircraft…and more about this below.

But first, let’s take a look at greenhouse gases—and how synthetic fuels are an idea whose time has come.

According to a May 2018 industry report, “The single largest potential reduction in aviation’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the key to reaching our goals, will come about through the broad adoption of sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF) in place of the current fossil-based jet fuel.”

As a leading developer of propulsion engines and auxiliary power units, Honeywell Aerospace has been instrumental in testing SAJF as a high-quality fuel that can be blended in a 50/50 mixture with conventional fuel to reduce emissions without negatively affecting engine performance.

Our job going forward is to make sure the SAJF blend is a drop-in replacement that behaves like conventional fuels in every phase of operation and under a wide range of conditions.

Eventually, fossil-based fuels are going to be, shall we say, the fossils of aerospace because the future of flight many say is electric.

Very soon aircraft will fly safely, quietly, efficiently and cleanly powered by electric and hybrid-electric engines.

Honeywell was on the ground floor of the electric aircraft movement in the late 1990s, pioneering innovations in integrated avionics, flight controls, electronic engine controls, fly-by-wire technologies, health monitoring systems and other related areas.

In the present day, early applications of electric and hybrid-electric technologies will likely include military ground and air vehicles, commercial and military vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, and small fixed-wing aircraft.

This is just a sampling of all the things we’re doing to help our customers reduce fuel consumption, limit greenhouse gas emissions, improve flight efficiency and create a better, cleaner world for all of us.

Happy Earth Day 2019 from Honeywell Aerospace employees worldwide! We’re working hard on the key enabling technologies for the coming age of greener aviation.

Kathryn Kearney
Content Marketing Specialist
Katie Kearney is the global content marketing specialist for Honeywell Aerospace.


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