A plane.
(© TU Braunschweig )
Clusters of Excellence

Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Aviation

The cluster "Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Aviation" seeks to establish scientific foundations for the transformation of the air transport system over the next decades.

This research, motivated by the requirements and expectations from different stakeholders, will drastically reduce the environmental impact of aviation, make air transport more reliable, and support its continued growth. While the avoidance of CO2 emissions in other sectors of mobility is already being realised through electrification, the very high power and energy density requirements of aircraft do not allow for a direct transfer of such technology. Global long-range air transport will continue to be based on high-density energy storage by liquids, which in the future will be synthetically produced rather than fossil. Regional air transport requirements, however, may be fulfilled with electric or electro-hybrid systems.

This opens up a range of new design parameters that have to be fully analysed and understood if systemic aviation solutions are to be part of a global circular energy economy. TU Braunschweig has developed its mobility research to an outstanding level. Its research in aeronautics in particular has acquired an international reputation, occupying a unique position by its institutional partnership with DLR, its research alliance with Leibniz Universität Hannover, by strategic development of research infrastructure, and by collaborative programmes of fundamental research, complemented with production technology focussing on energy storage and lightweight structures. Based on these strengths, the cluster will strategically extend interdisciplinary collaborative research in air transport and use access to international networks to reach a new level of research and innovation for solving the serious long-term problem of aviation’s environmental impact, thereby creating sustainable aviation solutions.

The research focus will be on the fundamentals of energy conversion and storage as well as on technologies for ultra-efficient flight, overcoming existing design paradigms through new aircraft and subsystem designs. Experiments, models, and simulations will put system analysis on a basis of first principles, while the cluster will also account for external factors such as economic development, legislative regulation, and societal expectations. The main structural objective is to establish a leading international science consortium for fundamental research in aeronautics, in energy systems, and in comprehensive evaluation of the air transport system through a clearly focused collaboration of the cluster partners across their institutional boundaries. The cluster will also offer programmes tailored for fostering the early careers of highly qualified junior researchers and for contributing to equal opportunities for women in engineering. Finally, it will inspire the imagination of all stakeholders in creating a sustainable solution for global society.

Involved Institutions:

  • Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR)
  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität Hannover
  • Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig

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