Enhanced Technology Assessment For Future Aircraft

The project aims to develop and implement methods to enable a broad assessment and optimization of the
Air Transportation System (ATS). At present, assessment is primarily accomplished by means of technical
and economic indicators based on the operator´s and manufacturer´s view. An approach has been being derived,
to assess the ATS expansively regarding the three pillars of sustainability: economy, ecology and society.
A framework is under development to conduct sustainability studies of ATS and its sub elements separately.
The framework combines the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Life Cycle Cost Assessment (LCC) and Social Life
Cycle Assessment (SLCA) to the Life Cycle Sustainable Assessment (LCSA) also known as Engineering Life
Cycle Assessment. The framework is labelled as SEElab.

The additional objective is to extend the decision basis in applied methods by ecological and sociological criteria
that will be of decisive importance in the coming years (e.g. “green AC”, “alternative fuel”, “political impacts”,
“community impact”,…). This approach requires the consideration of at least 4 influencing views:

  • Interest of future generations
  • National interests and policies
  • International interests and policies
  • Interest of consumers


The aim is to quantify performance of the three dimensions of sustainability with one integrated method in order to direct - and measure - integrated method is called SEElab Assess. It enables and supports potential valuators within the decision process in product development and improvements, strategic planning, policy making or marketing. Latter applications are directly linked to the LCA guideline ISO 14040, describing the only internationally standardized environmental assessment method. The ISO 14040 standards typically does not address the economic or social aspects of a product, but the life cycle approach and methodologies (overall framework) defined in this international standard could be applied to these other aspects too.                

Among others, an index has been derived which indicates the overall performance of the investigated system
in a highly aggregated number. The index is named Social-Eco-Efficiency-Index or abbreviated SEEindex.
The SEEindex is the fina l output of a multi-step procedure which starts with the inventory of the environmental,
economical and social impact and is finalized with a method to synthesis all different inventory results to one
number. Here, the synthesis is conducted by a MCDA process whereas TOPSIS has been recommended
as  the most fitting method to be applied.

Here the complete synthesis is conducted by a 4-fold MCDA process; executed for the economical,  environmental
andsocietal column and finally for aggregating there results to one number. Latter is introduced as Social-Eco-
Efficiency-Index or abbreviated SEEindex. MCDA is a process that allows one to make decisions in the presence
of multiple, potentially conflicting criteria. There are a variety of existing MCDA methods, thus the selection of
the most appropriate methods is critical since the  use of inappropriate methods is often the cause of misleading
design decisions. At this point it has to be differentiated between a post- and an in-loop assessment. In comparison
to the post assessment,  where the alternatives have already been designed even introduced in  the system being
evaluated, in the in loop  assessment the alternatives can be re-designed for optimizing their sustainability. Thereby
it depends  on the question whether either the alternatives (e.g. aircraft, airports, airspaces or its sub elements
such as an airport terminal  or runway system) have to be optimized in respect of its economic, environmental
or social performance only or in all three sustainable dimensions.

The extended assessment needs the knowledge about the relevance of the criteria to be investigated.
In general the relevance is expressed in weighting factors of the performance indicators.  For the case
there is a lack of knowledge of the weighting factors, a procedure is proposed to perform sensitivity
studies by interrelating the weight ratios of different performance indicators.  The results are visualized
in a so called SEEtrade diagram. In SEEtrade the behaviour of the social-eco-efficiency vs. different
weighting of ecological and economical or social criteria is depicted against a selected weighting ratio  of
performance indicators such as emissions vs. land-use or energy consumption.  It assembles the weight-
dependent SEE-Indices of all examined alternatives in one picture.


SEEtrade (cut-away)

Project partners
Airbus Operations GmbH,
EADS Innovation Works,
DLR Lufttransportsysteme (Project Management)
Time: 31.12.2013

Dr.-Ing. Marco Weiss
, Systemanalyse Lufttransport
Tel: +49 40 42878-3881

Fax: +49 40 42878-2979

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