Page 56 - European Energy Innovation - Summer 2017 publication
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56  Summer 2017 European Energy Innovation


Innovation is key for

sustainable aviation

By Monika Hohlmeier, MEP

The Aeronautics Sector is a               As mentioned in the Aviation strategy       aeronautical industry is recognised
            strong driver of economic     of the European Commission, growth in       as one of the top five advanced
            growth, high qualified jobs,  air traffic in Europe and worldwide must    technology sectors in Europe. It is
            trade and mobility for the    go hand in hand with maintaining high       one of the most R&D intensive sectors
European Union. The EU aviation           standards of aviation safety as well as     in Europe, dedicating more than
industry directly employs up to 2         contributing to the fight against climate   12% of its turnover to research and
million people and overall supports       change. In short, aviation must grow        development and 16% of its employees
around 5.5 million jobs. While the        in a sustainable manner to ensure the       work in R&D. For that reason, the
number of passenger planes is             future competitiveness of air transport.    European Parliament in general and the
expected to double between 2015 and       However, that is very difficult to realize  members of the Sky&Space Intergroup
2035, without further measures, CO2       as the aeronautics industry is one of       in particular are always supporting
emissions from international aviation     the most global industries, which is        research activities by the industry
are estimated to quadruple by 2050        faced by a fierce global environment.       through Horizon 2020 funded projects
compared to 2010. In fact, if global      Especially, the international aviation      like Clean Sky as well as SESAR.
aviation was a country, it would rank in  sector outside Europe is characterised
the top 10 emitters.                      by very strong growth – up to 10            Clean Sky has been an unambiguous
                                          percent in certain world regions, such      success story not only environmentally,
                                          as the Middle East. For that reason,        but also in establishing a robust
                                          maximising fuel efficiency, using less      innovation network in bringing
                                          to go farther, is also a key cost-cutting   together companies, universities and
                                          factor in a very competitive industry.      public laboratories. In detail, Clean
                                          As game-changing innovation in this         Sky has brought together over 560
                                          sector is risky, complex and expensive,     participants, with around 40% being
                                          and requires long-term commitment,          innovative SMEs. This joint undertaking
                                          all relevant European stakeholders          shows also that a private public
                                          must work together to develop proof-        partnership in funding, established by
                                          of-concept demonstrators. For that          the EU and the European aeronautical
                                          reason, the continuation of the very        industry, is very successful. The
                                          successful grant-based funding scheme       initial Clean Sky Programme, which
                                          of the European Commission is crucial       was running from 2008-2016, had a
                                          to maintain the competitiveness of          budget of €1.6 billion. The European
                                          European companies and research             Commission’s Framework Programme
                                          institutions in a time of increasingly      7 provided half of this amount and the
                                          fierce global environment. In addition,     other half was provided by financial
                                          the flight ticket taxes and fees related    contributions from the industry leaders.
                                          to CO2 emissions should be reinvested       It is estimated that the technology
                                          solely in research and environmental        developments made could reduce
                                          innovation efforts aiming to achieve        aviation CO2 emissions by more than
                                          carbon neutral growth for aviation.         20% with respect to the 2000 baseline
                                                                                      levels which would mean an aggregate
                                          As sustainable aviation is highly           reduction of 2 to 3 billion tonnes of
                                          dependent on innovation, the                CO2 over the next 35 years. Following

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