NASA Holds Green
September 11, 2010
- NASA has a "critical responsibility" to the flying public to
develop environmentally responsible solutions to the nation's most
pressing aviation problems, Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. said
Green Aviation Summit at NASA's Ames Research Center, Bolden said air
travel is one of the safest modes of transportation and vital to the
U.S. economy, but increasing air traffic is taking a toll on the
environment and the nation's aviation infrastructure.
"We need to make
some changes -- both in the design of aircraft and in the way they
transit through our skies to not only maintain, but improve safety and
efficiency," Bolden said. "That's a huge challenge, but we at NASA
enthusiastically accept it."
The Green Aviation
Summit highlighted the depth and breadth of NASA's work to develop
aviation technologies that are designed to make air transportation
cleaner and quieter for the environment, with fewer delays for
responsibility is [to] those who feel anxious because of the long
distance they have to travel to reach an airport; the crowding they
experience upon arrival at the terminal; the departure, enroute, or
arrival weather; or concerns that the technology on the planes may not
be up to dealing with problems that may be encountered in the sky,"
Bolden told the summit.
meeting brought together about 200 experts from NASA, other federal
government organizations, industry and academia. Keynote presentations
by leading policymakers as well as detailed technical presentations and
panel discussions are focusing on state-of-the-art and emerging
technologies that can reduce aircraft noise, emissions and fuel
consumption and ensure the safe and manageable growth of the aviation
Jaiwon Shin, NASA's associate administrator for aeronautics research, said NASA technology will become increasingly important because of the lack of available space for new airports. "We really are helping the country to advance to the next generation of air transportation and aviation by working together," he said. "This summit signifies our strong commitment."
participants shared the results of their work on airplanes that will be
designed and built with unconventional configurations, super-efficient
engines and lightweight, damage-tolerant materials to increase lift,
reduce drag, and deflect noise; innovations that will capitalize on the
potential of alternative fuels and advanced power technologies; and
efforts to equip aircraft cockpits with computer software and
satellite-based navigation and communication systems to assist
decision-making by pilots.
Center Director Simon "Pete" Worden opened the summit by crediting NASA
research for today's understanding of climate change and the effects of
global warming on the environment. "As the world travels even more,"
said Worden, "we're going to have a very serious global warming issue,
as well as lots of other environmental impacts of aviation."
Bolden, Shin and
Worden all noted that conservation – through improved performance,
efficiency and safety -- is an aim that has guided NASA's research goals
for decades. "Green is not just a buzzword to us," Bolden said.
Examples of green
technology NASA has developed in the past include winglets and chevrons.
Winglets are the vertical attachments that can be seen on the wing tips
of many commercial airliners in service today, and are designed to
reduce fuel consumption. Chevrons are the scalloped edges on the engine
nozzles of some models of commercial and cargo aircraft just now
entering the market, and are designed to reduce noise.
NASA has a suite
of incremental goals for demonstrating the feasibility of aircraft
technology and air traffic management techniques that can minimize the
environmental effects of air transportation by:
aircraft to burn 33 percent less fuel than today's most efficient models
by 2015, 50 percent less by 2020, and better than 50 percent less by
-- Cutting engine
emissions of nitric oxide and nitrogen oxide, which contribute to ozone
creation, 20 percent by 2015, 50 percent by 2020, and better than 50
percent by 2025, when compared with today's best engines. Reducing the
amount of fuel burned reduces emissions of carbon dioxide, which
contribute to global warming.
-- Reducing the
nuisance noise footprint around airports to one-third its current size
by 2015 and one-sixth by 2020, and containing it within the airport
property boundary by 2025.
NASA aims to
facilitate the transition of new capabilities to manufacturers, then to
airlines and ultimately to the Federal Aviation Administration, for the
ultimate benefit of the flying public.
administrator said it is crucial for the agency and its stakeholders to
collaborate closely to that its aeronautics research continues to be
both relevant to the aviation community and beneficial to the flying
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