NASA technologies could save US airlines roughly $250 billion in operational costs
According to NASA, US airlines could save up to 250 billion dollars between 2025 and2050. It will all be thanks to green technology pioneered by the agency and industrypartners, as part of NASA's Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA)project.
ERA concluded in 2015after a set six-year running period that focused on the developmentand testing of eight eco-friendly technologies. The project receivedover $400 million of NASA funding, with industry partners such asBoeing and Pratt & Whitney contributing around $250 million worthof resources.
Technologies developedunder the ERA program would seek to dramatically reduce fuelconsumption, aircraft noise and the pollution that comes as an inevitablebyproduct of air travel. This would be achieved by increasing engineefficiency and refinement paired with a number of advancements inoverall airplane design.
For example, as part ofthe project, NASA partnered up with Boeing researchers to test out aprotective coating that could be applied to aircraft wings in orderto significantly reduce the aerodynamic drag caused by insectsadhering to the wing. Another innovation would reduce weight anddrag by allowing the integration of a shorter vertical tail fin byutilizing embedded air nozzles, providing increased stability anddirectional control of air flow over current designs.
Other technologiesincluded the innovation of a system that would allow the wing of anaircraft to deploy the aerodynamic flaps that allow a conventionalaircraft to manipulate its trajectory in the air without exposinggaps in the wing structure. This would have the dual effect ofreducing aircraft noise and increasing fuel efficiency due to reduceddrag.
Based on computersimulations, alongside the projected $250 billion saving, NASAforecasts that implementation of the green technologies could cutUS aviation pollution by 75 percent, while reducing noise levels toone-eighth their current level.