Tackling climate change demands a radical transformation of aviation technology.
This means tackling a series of discrete technological challenges such as battery development, electrical and thermal management systems and new materials, and doing so at pace because the clock is ticking.
But tackling each challenge in isolation isn’t enough.
Aircraft are complex systems, in which each component has to work as part of a whole. There are multiple players in industry, regulation and academia.
In such a complex landscape it would be easy for an absence of coordination to slow things down, because innovations aren’t compatible, because certain problems are being examined many times over whereas others aren’t being explored, or because regulatory and safety challenges aren’t being anticipated.
Solutions for Aircraft Electrification Leadership, a world class partnership of engineers and researchers from industry, academia and regulation, seeks to address this challenge by creating an open technology framework to coordinate and integrate research, innovations and standards to bring sustainable aviation closer.
As engineers, scientists and academics, we are accustomed to working in our own spheres and protecting the new knowledge and products we develop. This is quite understandable and logical because no one wants to do the hard work and then see our work copied and used by others without proper referencing or acknowledgment of monetary reward. Yet I have personally witnessed the much deeper motivation and satisfaction that can come when we cooperate and share our expertise and knowledge while working together towards a loftier common goal.
It started when a few of us met for dinner at the More Electric Aircraft international conference in Hamburg in 2018, and our conversation quickly revealed a dire need for open cross-sector global cooperation to meet the climate change challenge through greener aviation. Together we founded SAEL and organised a series of workshops. During the workshops, experts from the aerospace sector worldwide joined us willingly. They engaged fully in the discussions around the challenges and solutions for future aircrafts, freely sharing their knowhow, insights and enthusiasm, without ever needing to disclose any confidential company information.
It may seem counter-intuitive in a competitive market, but I’ve seen the tangible results that support this novel and much needed way forward: experts worldwide joining forces, contributing their expertise openly to solve critical global issues and together make a difference to our world, present and future.
Number of stakeholders engaged in workshops.