May 21, 2024

Institute of Air Transport at the EXACT Public Days

  • Economic and ecological sustainability: Analysis of the most promising aircraft concepts
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration in shaping the future of air traffic in the EXACT project

Focus on Low-Emission Aircraft Configurations

The EXACT Public Days at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) offered insights into the latest developments and research in more climate-compatible aviation. The Institute of Air Transport presented on global hydrogen demand, capacity requirements, and the environmental assessment of new, low-emission aircraft concepts, using a globe model to illustrate global developments. These insights form a foundation for planning future, more environmentally friendly aircraft concepts.

Research Findings from the Institute of Air Transport

The hydrogen demand analyses considered various scenarios, showing potential impacts on the aviation sector. Depending on the assumptions in the scenarios, hydrogen-powered aircraft could reduce global CO2 emissions by up to 23% by 2050. Further scenarios could potentially make the entire aviation sector emission-free by 2070. These analyses illustrate how hydrogen-powered aircraft could be integrated into the global fleet, based on factors like aircraft size, range, and the phasing out of conventional aircraft. They form the basis for refining aircraft concepts to meet market demands and minimise climate impacts.

The Institute of Air Transport also identified global operational scenarios for the studied aircraft concepts, highlighting routes that could be particularly attractive for future aircraft designs from an airline perspective, considering operational costs and passenger appeal. These scenarios serve as the foundation for the overall economic and ecological assessment in the EXACT project.

Additionally, the environmental effects of various aircraft concepts were examined, including engine emissions, climate impacts from flight operations, and effects on CO2, NOx, contrails, and H2O. The results demonstrate how future flying could impact the climate and how different new aircraft propulsion types could contribute to this.

The research findings from the Institute of Air Transport provide valuable insights into the potentials and challenges of implementing alternative propulsion technologies in the aviation sector.

The EXACT Project

In the EXACT project, the 20 participating DLR institutes analysed and evaluated various technologies such as hydrogen, batteries, and sustainable aviation fuels. These were specifically examined for low-emission and economically efficient aircraft concepts for short and medium-haul flights, accommodating 250 passengers.

The EXACT Public Days, hosted by the Institute of System Architectures in Aeronautics, also marked the start of a follow-up project to further develop the most promising aircraft configurations from the EXACT project, with a development horizon extending to 2070. This includes aircraft concepts powered by alternative fuels to serve the medium- and long-haul market in the wide-body segment by 2070.

The research from the Institute of Air Transport plays a crucial role in this follow-up project, particularly in analysing regulatory topics and integrating new technologies into existing aviation systems, as well as regarding emissions and climate impacts. The Institute of Air Transport has already presented an initial forecast for fleet development up to 2070 during the EXACT Public Days. This forecast serves as the basis for further assessment of passenger and fleet requirements and technical modeling.


Dr. Marc Gelhausen

Acting Head of Department
DLR - Institute of Air Transport
Air Tranport Development
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne

Franziska Bietke

Communication Manager
DLR - Institute of Air Transport
Blohmstraße 20, 21079 Hamburg
Tel: +49 40 2489641-209