The global aviation sector has committed to achieving net-zero aviation by 2050. However, the path to achieving the goal is complex, and innovation is a crucial solution. Aviation accounts for at least 2% of global CO2 emissions, according to the International Energy Agency, and these emissions have a significant impact on global warming due to their release at high altitude.

Companies are exploring various advancements, such as hydrogen combustion, electric and hydrogen-powered aircraft, and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Achieving cost-effective decarbonization requires transparency, adaptability and a clear distinction between short- and long-term initiatives.

«One of the main opportunities lies in finding green propulsion sources. In the short term, SAF appears to be the most promising, as it can contribute up to 65% to the emissions reductions needed for the journey towards net-zero aviation. Hydrogen, with its versatility and carbon-free combustion properties, can become a major player in aviation by the 2030s,” explains Shobha Kulavil, Vice President and Industrial Platform Leader for India Aerospace and Defense, Capgemini.

The transition to these new fuel and propulsion sources is essential, as improvements in airframe efficiency are likely to result in savings of 10 to 20%. Optimizing flight paths can also contribute to sustainability and profitability, making it a priority for operators.

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«Large aerospace companies depend on suppliers for up to 80 percent of the finished product. “There is a need to recalibrate with the entire supply chain and also introduce new partners to design and build the next generation of green aircraft, while driving sustainability objectives throughout the supply network,” he explains.

According to her, Capgemini has developed a digital framework reinforced with solution accelerators, aligned with the Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) framework, a widely used framework in the industry for product excellence and efficient communication of intent. design for stakeholders across the value chain.

«Capgemini, together with our partner AWS, has developed an AI and ML-based platform aimed at accelerating the adoption of circular economy practices in the aviation industry by automating the inspection process, optimizing lifecycle analysis of aircraft parts and guiding decisions to prolong their useful life,” he explains to Financial Express Online.

In his opinion, adopting a culture of experimentation is essential to facilitate the exploration of complex aerospace technologies.

It is also crucial to create a strong ecosystem of partners to know which laboratories, startups and institutions have the technology and intellectual property necessary to improve designs. How will digital enablers accelerate the path to Net Zero in aviation?

According to her, although the industry is aligned on the key steps for decarbonization, addressing the challenges will require digital technologies to measure, classify and analyze data and leverage AI and ML for additional analysis and intelligent recommendations. Digital engineering can play a key role in accelerating this journey.

Hydrogen, with its versatility and carbon-free combustion properties, can become a major player in aviation by the 2030s

“Digital enablers such as advanced design software and Artificial Intelligence (AI) offer a wide range of applications, ranging from optimizing aircraft configurations to improving safety and profitability through simulations and physics-based modeling. Expertly designed models can define the most effective configuration for fuselages, tanks and wings and predict the optimal materials,” he emphasizes.

He adds: “AI can propose optimal configurations based on specific criteria, reducing the need for physical prototypes and minimizing errors. “This streamlined design process accelerates innovation and reduces carbon emissions from manufacturing and testing.”

Additionally, digital engineering allows new concepts to be quickly tested, enabling rapid iteration and improvement. For example, digital models have been used to explore noise reduction using toroidal propellers, facilitating faster development and application of noise reduction technologies.

According to her, model-based systems engineering enables holistic analysis of aeronautical systems throughout their life cycle, streamlining validation and verification processes and allowing more of the test and evaluation work to be performed digitally.

“Automated data capture, AI-based simulations, and cross-sector anomaly detection improve testing efficiency and accuracy, reducing certification time and costs. Additionally, a robust cloud-based infrastructure, along with AI, machine learning, big data analytics tools and cybersecurity measures, support collaboration, innovation and reducing environmental impact.”

“Efforts to improve aircraft energy efficiency are also supported by digital enablers, which extend beyond flight performance to the sourcing of energy and carbon efficient materials. Predictive maintenance, driven by cost savings and emissions reduction considerations, ensures optimal operational efficiency », he underlines.


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