Analytical Instrumentation

  • How Could the 'Flying V' Reduce Jet Fuel Consumption?

How Could the 'Flying V' Reduce Jet Fuel Consumption?

Jun 19 2019 Read 228 Times

In a bid to minimise the environmental footprint of the aviation industry and slash fuel costs, Dutch airline KLM is collaborating with Delft University of Technology to develop a fuel efficient 'Flying V' aircraft. Originally designed by Berlin University of Technology research assistant Justus Benad, the specially designed long-distance aircraft adopts a 'V' shape to offer exceptional energy efficiency.

According to Friends of the Earth, aircraft contribute to around 3.5% of all global warming emissions caused by human activities. By 2070, this figure could spike to around 15%. Benad and the team at KLM hope to address this issue by engineering an aerodynamic aircraft that uses 20% less fuel that the Airbus A350, an industry-leading model used by carriers around the world.

Minimising resistance with an aerodynamic 'V' shape

While the energy credentials of the Flying V are impressive, the aircraft will have the same wingspan as the Airbus A350 and offer the same passenger and cargo capacity. Though unlike its counterparts, the clever design of the Flying V means it has less inflow surface area compared to the total amount of available volume.

“The result is less resistance," explains Dr Roelof Vos, Assistant Professor at the Aerospace Engineering Faculty of Delft University of Technology. "That means the Flying-V needs less fuel for the same distance."

KLM recognises "huge responsibility for our planet"

In a statement released by KLM, the airline confirmed that it will offer financial and technological support to the project "in anticipation and support of sustainable long-distance flight in the future." It also confirmed that it will showcase a flying scale model and full-size interior section of the Flying V at Schiphol Airport as part of the carrier's 100th anniversary celebrations.  

"The development of aviation has given the world a great deal, offering us an opportunity to connect people. This privilege is paired with a huge responsibility for our planet," says KLM President and CEO Pieter Elbers. "KLM takes this very seriously and has therefore been investing in sustainability at different levels for many years, enabling it to develop a broad spectrum of sustainability initiatives."

Supporting the Flying V project is just one of the ways KLM is pioneering an eco-friendly aviation industry, with the airline recently pledging to make an annual purchase of 75,000 tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel for the next 10 years. It has also committed to investing in the construction of Europe’s first industrial plant dedicated to producing sustainable fuels.

“We are proud of our progressive cooperative relationship with TU Delft, which ties in well with KLM’s strategy and serves as an important milestone for us on the road to scaling-up sustainable aviation,” adds Elbers.

With awareness surrounding the environmental impact of flying growing, the aviation industry is under increasing pressure to minimise its climate change footprint. For a closer look at how new technologies are helping airlines to comply with sulphur regulations don't miss 'ASTM D7220: Accurate and Precise Analysis of Ultra-Low Sulphur (ULS) in Automotive, Heating, and Jet Fuels'.

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