Aero engines maker Rolls-Royce, aircraft manufacturer Embraer, and Scandinavian airline Wideroe this week launched a joint study into options for a new zero-emissions regional airliner. In a February 17 announcement made during the Singapore Airshow, the companies said they will consider several propulsion options, including all-electric, hydrogen fuel cells, and a hydrogen-fueled gas turbine.
The study is expected to take 12 months, with the partners giving no specific indication as to what outcomes they expect. However, Embraer Commercial Aviation president Arjan Meijer did mention that the new aircraft could support “very-short-haul intercity operations.”
It is not clear how the study might relate to the planned Energia family of nine- to 50-seat aircraft that Embraer announced in October 2021. These plans include aircraft that would be powered by a mix of hybrid, hydrogen, dual-fuel gas turbines, and electric propulsion systems. They could enter service between 2030 and 2040 and offer ranges of up to around 575 miles.
Norway-based Wideroe is also ready working with Rolls-Royce and Italy’s Tecnam on plans for the PVolt all-electric aircraft, for which it will be the launch customer. Rolls-Royce Electric is developing a propulsion system for the nine-passenger aircraft, which is based on Tecnam’s existing P2012 Traveller twin-piston model.
“Working with the world’s leading aerospace technology firms, our aim is to understand how viable business can be built around zero-emissions regional concepts, and to advise manufacturers on operational requirements and customer expectations to design the best possible and sustainable air mobility service,” commented Wideroe Zero CEO Anders Aks.