Global research for climate-neutral aviation
- Approximately 900 researchers from 35 countries came together at ICAS 2022 in Stockholm.
- DLR was represented with numerous contributions and an exhibition stand.
- Another meeting took place within the framework of the International Forum for Aviation Research (IFAR).
- Focus: Aeronautics, climate-neutral flight
The 33rd Congress of the International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences (ICAS) was held in Stockholm from 4 to 9 September 2022. The congress follows the tradition of bringing together international aviation research across its many disciplines. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) was represented through a wide range of contributions and an exhibition stand focusing on climate-neutral aviation. The International Forum for Aviation Research (IFAR), the network through which the world's aeronautics research institutions exchange information and coordinate their activities, was also present at the stand as a guest. At ICAS 2022, the winners of this year's DLR Design Challenge also showcased their award-winning design for a firefighting aircraft.
"Aviation is an integral part of our society and global mobility. It contributes to intercultural exchange and creates economic growth," says DLR Divisional Board Member for Aeronautics, Markus Fischer. "In order to maintain and expand this unique service to society in the face of climate change, aviation is undergoing one of the most extensive transformation processes in its history, which requires the effort of all involved in its research and development. In this context, it is particularly important that we systematically take the effects of carbon dioxide and other substances into account to achieve the goal of climate-neutral aviation by the middle of the century."
At this year's ICAS Congress, which took place for the first time since 2018, the 900 participating researchers from 35 countries intensively discussed the most promising technological possibilities towards climate-neutral aviation for various aircraft sizes and applications. New aircraft configurations and alternative propulsion system concepts were among the core topics. An essential question at the congress concerned the appropriate use of green hydrogen and Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF). Here, stakeholders must consider the differences in energy efficiency and technical feasibility of both energy sources. With this in mind, DLR presented the topics of climate-neutral aircraft design and sustainable fuels in the congress exhibition area. In addition to reducing carbon dioxide footprints, SAF also offers the prospect of reducing the effects from other substances, in particular the climate impact of contrails. Electricity-based fuels (power-to-liquid; PtL) make it possible to produce SAF in large quantities using renewable energies, water and carbon dioxide. Optimised flight paths offer further potential to reduce the climate impact of global aviation.
IFAR is represented at ICAS 2022
Aviation is a global system. As such, it requires intensive international cooperation to find common answers to the challenges posed by climate change. Representing the international exchange of leading aviation research organisations, the International Forum for Aviation Research (IFAR) presented aspects of these joint efforts at the DLR stand and in conference sessions. IFAR represents a total of approximately 35,000 scientists at 26 aviation research institutions worldwide. DLR, as a founding member since 2011, is represented on the management team and serves as the executive secretariat. Since 2014, IFAR has been represented at the ICAS Congress as a partner. IFAR has been cooperating with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) since 2020.
Presentation of the winning concept of the DLR Design Challenge
As winners of this year's DLR Design Challenge, the team of students from the University of Stuttgart were invited to the ICAS Congress 2022 to present their award-winning concept for the INFERNO firefighting aircraft. The design allows a fleet of firefighting aircraft to optimally interact with each other as well as with units on the ground, maximising the amount of water delivered to the burning region within 24 hours.
The conference offered extensive opportunities for young professionals to experience the current state of aviation research and to network. For example, the Speed Mentoring format was held once again. Here, aspiring engineers were able to learn about personal development possibilities and career opportunities from representatives from industry and research in addition to the regular conference programme.
Exchanging expertise in the age of digitalisation
ICAS 2022 broke new ground in terms of the exchange of expertise. Instead of only presenting the simulation results of new aircraft configurations, for example, this year participants had the opportunity to combine data and digital models at the conference. This will accelerate the pace of innovation and exchange between researchers and enable synergies to be exploited. The foundation for this development was laid this year at the first ICAS Digital Pioneering Workshop. The next ICAS conference will take place in Florence in 2024. The innovative format is to be further expanded there.